Swapping beds for cardboard boxes in aid of town’s homeless

The Big Sleep 2017, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-170925-072212001
The Big Sleep 2017, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-170925-072212001

Seaview’s sponsored mass sleep out returns to The Stade next Friday, raising awareness and funds for some of the town’s most vulnerable people.

The Big Sleep, on September 28, will see scores of people spend the night in a cardboard box in aid of Seaview, which is an open access wellbeing centre in St Leonards that helps those living on the margins of society, particularly those who are homeless.

The night will begin at 7.30pm with musical entertainment from Hastings favourites Bobby Fuego’s Fat Fingers of Funk and the Haystingers. Hosted by TV and radio presenter Kevin Devine, the entertainment is free and open to all until 10pm.

This is when the sleep out will start in The Stade’s ‘cardboard city’. Exclusively for those sleeping out there will be an unplugged gig around the brazier with King Size Slim and a bedtime story from local poet Pete Donohue. Hot drinks will be available throughout the night, with porridge served the following morning.

Last year’s Big Sleep raised more than £25,000 for Seaview, and registration is still open for those wishing to take part this year via https://thebigsleephastings.com.

The Big Sleep has had an increased interest from young people wanting to sleep out. Those under 18 years who’d like to replicate the Big Sleep experience can do so by sleeping out in their back garden. By raising a minimum of £15 and seeking permission from a parent or guardian, they will be provided with a Big Sleep box and goodie bag.

The Big Sleep is looking for local businesses to sponsor the event to ensure the costs for the event are fully covered – that way all sponsorship raised will go towards front line services for those who find themselves without a home.

Organisers would also like to thank local businesses and groups who have already pledged financial support – Foreshore Trust, Half Man Half Burger, Lets 2 Share, The Lions Club of Hastings, The FILO, Ashdown Hurrey and Kings Church.

If you are interested in sponsoring the event, visit https://thebigsleephastings.com/get-involved/.

The Big Sleep is organised by the Seaview Awareness 4 Action Group (A4A) comprised of a group of volunteers who are passionate about the work of Seaview.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/TheBigSleepHastings.

• Colleagues from the Observer will be taking part in the Big Sleep this year.

Chief reporter Maria Hudd, senior reporter Stephen Wynn-Davies, newspaper sales representative Kerry Stevens and Ian Gillam, media sales consultant, will be swapping their beds for boxes on September 28 in a bid to raise funds for Seaview.

Earlier this year, the Observer launched its Hope for the Homeless campaign with the aim of highlighting the extensive and valuable work of charities and organisations in the area helping those who are sleeping rough or in need of shelter.

The Observer hopes to raise £500 for Seaview as part of its campaign, by taking part in the mass sleep out. To donate to the cause, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/hastingsobserver1066.

For more information on the campaign, visit the Hope for the Homeless (East Sussex) Facebook page.