Preventing Homelessness in Reading

Big Sleep Out

Registration is now open for our Big Sleep Out 2018, where we raise money and awareness of the realities of sleeping rough. 

Every year people sign up to spend a night under the stars to try and understand what it’s like for those who are homeless.

Join us for one night outside with just cardboard and a sleeping bag between you and the concrete, experiencing what it’s like to get minimal sleep and vulnerable to the elements. You quickly realise how cold it gets. At sunrise you’re awake and return to your everyday life after just one night sleeping out. Sadly for others the reality is very different.

Our autumn Big Sleep Out helps to prevent homelessness in winter months when rough sleeping becomes even more dangerous. In 2017, 120 ‘Big Sleepers ‘raised over £40,000 which was used by Launchpad to support some of Reading’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. Homelessness is complicated and those sleeping rough are the tip of the iceberg, the hidden homeless include many single parents struggling to bring up their young children in unsuitable B&Bs and those sleeping on friends sofas night after night.

This year’s Big Sleep Out is Friday 31 August – Saturday 1 September, 7pm – 7am at Queen Anne’s School, Caversham. Throughout the evening you’ll enjoy live music, guest speakers and a cardboard shelter building competition where you’ll take on the challenge of creating your own shelter for the night. Lights go out at 11pm.

Don’t forget you can sleep out as a team with your friends or colleagues; groups should apply early as space will be limited.

Claire, who slept out last year said afterwards: “‘Having had a great sleep in a comfortable bed, with crisp linen sheets and fluffy pillows I am reminded of the Big Sleep Out. A truly inspiring and worthwhile evening. I met some wonderful people, listened to some incredible stories of the harsh realities of sleeping rough. The Big Sleep Out was a small part towards addressing the homeless issues by raising money to support this incredible charity without whom the whole situation would be very different.’

Charlene added: ‘Everyone really needs to take part in this event at least once to get just a glimpse of what the reality is for so many people.’

Find out more and sign up for this year’s Big Sleep Out here >

Email fundraising@launchpadreading.org.uk if you’d like to get in touch.

Big Sleep Out 2017

Big Sleep Out 2017, 120 got sponsored to Sleep Out

“We did it! Before we bedded down for the night we had a talk from an ex-homeless person who was very honest about falling into drink and drug addiction and then losing his home and friends and how he is coming out of that with the help of Launchpad for a roof over his head. Very humbling. The ground is hard and people are warm.” Tim Ferguson reflects on the Launchpad Big Sleep Out.

119 joined Tim sleeping out to raise money and awareness for Launchpad and a record breaking £41,618.61 was raised on the night!

The evening began with everyone arriving to register at 7pm with cardboard and sleeping bags tucked under their arms. They were invited to contribute to the dreamcatcher made by volunteers and clients, adding their positive messages for the people Launchpad support. Messages of support included ‘dream big and believe in yourself’, ‘stay strong’ and ‘recovery is possible as is a new beginning and a new start which you so deserve’.

At 8pm everyone headed inside to hear from a Launchpad client who came from a good family, had been to university, started drinking and taking cocaine, it got out of hand and he ended up losing his home, job and sleeping rough for two months – walking around in the early hours to keep warm and safe. Supported by CIRDIC, St Mungo’s, Launchpad and iRiS he grasped the opportunity to get his life back on track. He’s still attending a number of support meetings a week and is housed by Launchpad, he has a job and is taking one day as it comes.

Soup was served made with vegetables grown and picked by clients at the Launchpad allotment and made by our neighbours Shed Café. Musician Davie McGirr busked lullabies before everyone headed out to spend a night under the stars with just cardboard and a sleeping bag for comfort.

In the morning Charlene tweeted ‘Everyone really needs to take part in this event at least once to get just a glimpse of what the reality is for so many people.

By 5.30am everyone was awake collecting their certificate of achievement and by 6.30am on their way having gained a tiny insight into what it’s like to sleep rough for just one night.

Lisa-Marie posted on Facebook ‘So what did I learn? People are amazing..when we watch the news and life gets us down we sometimes think no one cares and the world is a bad place…not true! It was so heart-warming to be with so many welcoming, kind people who had come together because they care about others less fortunate. It’s bloody cold sleeping outside in cardboard! The dew had collapsed my box this morning and I was freezing and uncomfortable…I’m so lucky I got to come home to a warm house. Always check your sleeping bag zip is not broken before you leave home or you will have very cold legs!!

Thank you to everyone who took part, volunteered and supported those sleeping out. An overwhelming amount of money was raised by the most ever people taking part in our Sleep Out event.

The photos

Take a look at all the photos evening here >