Hundreds Sleep Out to raise awareness of homelessness

16:41 09 November 2012

Centrepoint Sleep Out at in Broadgate

Centrepoint Sleep Out at in Broadgate's Exhcange Square, London. Picture: Harriet Armstrtong/Centrepoint

Archant

Hundreds of people braved the cold last night in London to sleep outside and raise awareness of homelessness.

Centrepoint Sleep Out at in Broadgate's Exhcange Square, London. Picture: Harriet Armstrtong/CentrepointCentrepoint Sleep Out at in Broadgate's Exhcange Square, London. Picture: Harriet Armstrtong/Centrepoint

Centrepoint’s Sleep Out ever at Broadgate’s Exchange Square in London saw 850 people bedding down on cardboard with the aim of raising £250,000, which will be used to support the homeless this winter.

Among those who took part was television presenter Richard Madeley, who said today levels of homelessness in Britain were a “national shame” and benefit cuts would make the problem worse.

Asked what he would take away from the experience, he said: “A sense of shame that we live in a society that allows this to happen.

“I’m not going to go on a political rant about benefit cuts and the fact that kids under 25 aren’t going to be getting housing benefit quite soon, but that’s going to have a major impact, that really is.

Richard Madeley is an ambassador for Centrepoint. Picture: Harriet Armstrtong/CentrepointRichard Madeley is an ambassador for Centrepoint. Picture: Harriet Armstrtong/Centrepoint

“I know cuts have to be made, but it is going to make the problem worse.”

Madeley, who is an ambassador for Centrepoint, was joined by his daughter Chloe Madeley plus cast members from Downton Abbey.

Entertainment for those sleeping out came from comedian Tim Vine, girl band Stooshe and chart-topper Eliza Doolittle. The Thick Of It star Rebecca Front read the bedtime story, while the cast of Shrek the Musical popped along for a sing-a-long.

This year was the first time a national Sleep Out in such a large scale has been held, with eight cities across the country holding events.

Singer Eliza Doolittle performs. Picture: Harriet Armstrtong/CentrepointSinger Eliza Doolittle performs. Picture: Harriet Armstrtong/Centrepoint

Centrepoint’s patron, the Duke of Cambridge, took part in Sleep Out in 2009. He said: “I would like to thank everyone in London who braved the elements and participated in the first ever nationwide Sleep Out.

“The event highlights the high rates of homelessness among young people in the United Kingdom in the 21st century and it raises vital funds to provide life-changing support to those young people.

“As patron of Centrepoint, I have seen the devastating impact of homelessness on young people, but I have also seen the remarkable work of the organisations that help, which is made possible thanks to events like Sleep Out. I am hopeful that we will see the end of youth homeless in our generation, thanks in large part to efforts like this.”

Royal Air Force personnel from No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron RAF Wittering ran a field kitchen to keep sleepers fed and watered throughout the night, and provided breakfast.

Seyi Obakin, Centrepoint’s chief executive, said: ‘Sleep Out is unique. Not only does it raise an amazing amount of money, it raises the issue of youth homelessness and gives a glimpse of what it’s like to sleep out on the cold streets of London.

“Young people are doing this every night without the protection of security, a canopy keeping the rain off and hundreds of friends supporting them.

“We urge you to support us, so we can give young people the support they need to live an independent and positive life. We are proud to be part of the first national Sleep Out and to bring this message home to so many people across the UK.”

Also taking part were staff from the Amy Winehouse Foundation, set up in memory of the late singer. The foundation has agreed a grant to Centrepoint, which will go live next year.

The grant will fund a duel diagnosis specialist programme for one year, with a worker providing focus intervention for young people between the ages of 16 and 25, which will allow the team to integrate its current support work around substance misuse and mental health issues.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Walkers have been urged to report any suspicious activity in the area (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

People are being warned to be vigilant on Hackney Marshes after three women were stalked and hurt in what police believe were sexually-motivated attacks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Danny Dyer is reacting to Twitter trolls in a comic fashion (Picture: PA Images)

Actor Danny Dyer has caused a storm on Twitter by dishing out witty comebacks to users criticising him and his “straight to DVD” films.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Prudential Ride London 2015 takes in the capital's most striking landmarks (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

The capital’s cycling festival is back this year bigger and better, so we’ve put together a handy guide with everything you need to know about Prudential RideLondon 2015.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
A woman'’s body was discovered at a hostel in Perryn Road, Acton

A woman’s body was found at a hostel for vulnerable people in Acton and a man has been charged with her murder, police said.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Braydon Anderson, 23, managed to get to the top of Parliament on March 7 (Picture: Getty)

A young man who held an eight-hour stand off with police as he clambered around Parliament rooftops has pleaded guilty to smashing ancient windows.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more
Terrific tea, creamy cakes and splendid sandwiches at Mews of Mayfair.

Celebrate a truly quintessentially British tradition with the chance of winning a luxurious Afternoon Tea for two people at Mews of Mayfair, complete with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Read more