Launchpad’s Big Sleep Out is back at the Reading Abbey Ruins!

Reading’s homelessness prevention charity, Launchpad, has announced this year’s Big Sleep Out is back at the iconic and historic Reading Abbey Ruins after holding the event online for two years. The event will take place on Saturday 8 October to mark World Homeless Day and aims to raise £40,000 to help fund the charity’s vital services which help local people avoid homelessness, particularly in these uncertain times.

Big Sleep Out logo

Launchpad’s free drop-in service is already seeing an increase of individuals, couples and families facing spiralling rent arrears or eviction because they simply can’t make ends meet. By taking part in the Big Sleep Out at Reading Abbey Ruins, participants will be helping to ensure Launchpad can provide urgent support for the increasing number of local people who are at risk of losing their home, as the cost of living continues to rise.

The Big Sleep Out asks participants and their friends, family and colleagues to swap their comfortable bed for a sleeping bag outside for the night. While the event doesn’t aim to replicate homelessness, it does offers participants an insight into some of the things people experience when they’re rough sleeping – such as cold temperatures, an uncomfortable bed and limited sleep.

The event begins with an evening of entertainment at St Laurence’s Church – hosted by Launchpad patrons Matt Allwright and Danyl Johnson – which will include live music, a prize raffle, a hot meal, and talks from Launchpad staff and clients. Then all participants head over to the Reading Abbey Ruins to bed down for the night until the next morning.

Now in its 17th year, Big Sleep Out is Launchpad’s flagship fundraising event and has raised over £320,000 to date. In 2019, the event was held in the grounds of the Grade I listed ruins of Reading Abbey for the first time and in 2020 and 2021, the Big Sleep Out went virtual and became the Big Sleep out at home because of the pandemic. This year’s event’s headline sponsor is planning, regeneration and design consultancy Stantec/Barton Wilmore and the event is also supported by workplace services provider Active Workplace Solutions.

Vicki Lewis, Fundraising Manager at Launchpad, said, “We are delighted to be bringing the Big Sleep Out back to the incredible Reading Abbey Ruins. The site is a truly iconic landmark for the town and a special place for crowds of local people to sleep out, mark World Homeless Day and raise vital funds for the charity. We’re hoping for our biggest and best Big Sleep Out yet!

“Our services at Launchpad are a lifeline to over 1,100 local people every year and over the next few months, we know there are going to many more people who find themselves on the brink of homelessness and in desperate need of our support. We would love people to join #TeamLaunchpad for the Big Sleep Out and help us raise £40,000 to fund this vital work and ensure people avoid homelessness. By sleeping out, we can ensure others in Reading don’t have to.”

Stephen Toole, Director at Stantec/Barton Willmore – the event’s headline sponsors - said, “Climate change and social inequality remain the UKs two biggest and most difficult challenges. The Big Sleep Out at Reading Abbey Ruins is a huge opportunity for us and Reading’s business community to support Launchpad and their critical work supporting those most impacted by the latter of these. Delivering community development across the Thames Valley (and the wider UK) that is equitable and designed with communities in mind, lies at the heart of everything we are striving to achieve within the industry, and as such we’re delighted to support one of our favourite local charities’ flagship fundraising event. We are all hugely looking forward to spreading the word and helping raise their highest total yet.”

Registration for the Big Sleep Out is £20 per person and Launchpad are asking each participant to fundraise a minimum of £250. The charity have created a Big Sleep Out guide to help participants fundraise and spread the word about their challenge, and they’ll also receive lots of support and resources from Launchpad’s fundraising team. For more information and to book your ticket, visit launchpadreading.org.uk/bigsleepout