A Turf wet night for charity sleepout

The Turf Moor sleepout
The Turf Moor sleepout
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Around 50 people braved the elements to spend a night in the shoes of homeless people to raise money for three local charities.

Burnley FC In the Community organised the sleepout, which saw the volunteers brave heavy rain camped out with just a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard in front of the Bob Lord stand at Turf Moor.

The event raised around £28,000 for the BFCitC, Burnley Emmaus and SafeNet Domestic Abuse Service for Jane’s Place.

Representatives offered insight into how they are all, in different ways, supporting homeless people in the town.

Fund-raisers also listened to the first-hand experience of an individual who was formerly homeless on the streets of the town but is now supported by BFCitC.

Neil Hart, chief executive of BFCitC, said: “We delivered this event in the same week it was revealed that 449 homeless people died in the UK in the last 12 months. Those numbers shocked all of us taking part and made us even more determined to raise as much as we could.

“We received incredible support from so many business leaders, Burnley FC fans and people who simply wanted to do their bit. Despite the seriousness of the issue, we were all uplifted by the willingness and spirit of the fund-raisers on what was a very wet and windy night.

“All the money raised will go to fighting homelessness in our town and we were pleased to work closely with Emmaus Burnley and SafeNet to deliver this.”

Helen Gauder, managing director of SafeNet, said: “We were proud to shine a spotlight on homelessness in Burnley and the causes of it.”

Stephen Buchanan, Director of Emmaus Burnley and Preston, said: “The power of the three charities working together really struck me – it felt like coming to the stadium, we’d come to the heart of the town for a cause that connected so many people across our community.

“We’re hoping to use these funds to purchase a van to help us collect and sell more items, such as furniture. At the moment, we’re spending a lot of money renting a vehicle – to have our own will be far more cost effective and in turn, will allow us to generate more funds to support our companions. A huge thanks to all those who have supported this brilliant event.”

One of those taking part was the leader of Burnley Borough Council, Coun. Mark Townsend.

He said: “It absolutely tippled it down on the night, which made it very uncomfortable, but also made everyone appreciate just how hard life must be for rough sleepers.

“Around 50 people took part from all over so that companionship helped. Rough sleepers would likely be on their own, however.

“The night brought home to me how miserable it must be for those unfortunate enough to find themselves in that position.”

To contribute to the ongoing fundraising for the Turf Sleepout event, please visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/turfsleepout2018.