Launchpad’s Big Sleep Out raises £18,000 despite only 30 participants
Launchpad’s Big Sleep Out at the Reading Abbey Ruins on Saturday 8 October 2022, raised a fantastic £18,000 and counting to help fund the charity’s vital services, which help local people avoid homelessness – despite just 30 dedicated supporters taking part in the event (a quarter of the participants compared to previous years).
The event began with an evening of entertainment at St Laurence’s Church – hosted by Launchpad patrons Matt Allwright and Danyl Johnson – and included live music from local rock band Third Lung; a prize raffle; a hot meal from Chef Roots; and talks from Launchpad staff and clients, and the Mayor of Reading, Councillor Rachel Eden.
The brave participants then made their way over to the Reading Abbey Ruins at 10pm to bed down for the night under the stars as the temperature dropped to a chilly 4°C. While the event doesn’t aim to replicate homelessness, it does offer participants an insight into some of the things people experience when they’re rough sleeping – such as adverse weather, an uncomfortable bed and limited sleep.
The Big Sleep Out, which is Launchpad’s flagship fundraising event, is now in its 17th year. After the charity was forced to take the event online in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, this year’s sleep out was held at the Grade I listed ruins of Reading Abbey. Organisers were hoping for 150 participants and set a fundraising target of £40,000 to support Launchpad’s vital services for the increasing number of local people who will be at risk of losing their home, as the cost of living continues to rise over the coming months.
Vicki Lewis, Fundraising Manager at Launchpad, said, “There were fewer people taking part in this year’s Big Sleep Out than ever before – which we think is down to the rising cost of living and after-effects of the pandemic. People are likely to be reluctant to ask their friends, colleagues and family for donations during such difficult times, and many of the local businesses who have taken part in the Big Sleep Out in the past are still working from home - so engaging with them has remained a challenge for us.
“But we are still thrilled the event raised over £18,000 - it’s an incredible result, especially given the number of people who slept out. We can’t thank our brave participants enough for their support and dedication – it was a cold, damp night!
“Because of them, many people in Reading who will face housing crisis because they can’t make ends meet, can receive the urgent help they need from Launchpad. Our services 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 are also incredibly grateful to this year’s headline sponsor Stantec/Barton Wilmore and event supporter Active Workplace Solutions, Danyl and Matt for their amazing job hosting, Third Lung for the fantastic live music, Chef Roots for the delicious food and Anonymous Coffee for serving all our participants his warming drinks at 5.30am the next day!”
To donate to the Big Sleep Out and help Launchpad reach the £40,000 target to continue their vital services, visit launchpadreading.org.uk/donate