Preventing homelessness in Reading

Berkshire’s premier shopping destination supports Launchpad’s Big Sleep Out

18 June 2019

We are pleased to announce that The Oracle, Berkshire’s premier shopping and dining destination, is kindly sponsoring Launchpad’s Big Sleep Out!

The Oracle – which opened in 1999 and contains 90 shops, over 20 restaurants, cafes and bars and a cinema – will be helping the charity reach the £40,000 fundraising target for the event.

The shopping centre, Launchpad and Big Sleep Out’s new location already have interesting links. The Holy Brook, a channel of the River Kennet, runs alongside Reading Abbey Ruins – and was used as a water supply by monks who worked at the abbey as early as the 1100s.  From the Grade I listed ruin, the brook runs around the iconic Blade, under Broad Street and under The Oracle shopping centre and car park. The brook can still be seen from the Minster street entrance of The Oracle today and is the reason the shopping centre’s car park is named ‘Holy Brook Car Park’.

The Oracle also takes its name from the 17th century Oracle workhouse built on the same site by funds from a local man John Kendrick, an English cloth merchant and patron of the towns of Reading and Newbury in Berkshire. The Oracle workhouse was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment, not unlike Launchpad’s mission to prevent homelessness in Reading today.

Big Sleep Out will see people swap their bed for a sleeping bag and cardboard box for the night at Reading Abbey Ruins on World Homeless Day, Thursday 10 October – so Launchpad can continue providing vital information and support for people who don’t have a stable place to live or are at risk of losing their home in Reading. The charity prevents homelessness by providing drop-in, legal advice and floating support services to help people overcome housing-related challenges before they get worse.

Big Sleep Out doesn’t aim to replicate homelessness – participants sleep out for just one night and the evening will include entertainment, food and some special guests. But it does offers a brief insight into some of the things you might face if you are street homeless, such as cold temperatures, an uncomfortable bed and limited sleep.

Andy Briggs, General Manager of The Oracle, said: “I’m thrilled that The Oracle is sponsoring Launchpad’s Big Sleep Out and to personally be taking part in this year’s charity event. The Big Sleep Out will be tough, however sleeping this way for one night doesn’t come close to those that have to sleep this way on a regular basis. By sponsoring the Big Sleep Out, we at The Oracle hope that we can help to raise money that will help those that need it most.”

Find out more about Big Sleep Out and book your place by visiting: www.launchpadreading.org.uk/bigsleepout