On Friday 8th November 6 members of the Wavemaker North team Manchester, completed The Big Sleep-Out for the Booth Centre. The event by the charity is their biggest sources of fundraising in the year. The event is designed to highlight the hardships faced by the homeless. We slept out to help stop people having to.
We were outside attempting to sleep from 9.45pm until 6am the following morning. It was 1 degrees, noisy and bright and a few hundred yards away from us a car crashed into a lamppost.
The experience is both daunting and humbling. We slept in safe conditions amongst a large group with access to hot drinks and toilets. Despite this it is a scary experience, and there definitely is a sense of panic as you realise it is midnight and you have to go to sleep. The event really made you feel vulnerable, the next day you feel exhausted and achey. We couldn’t imagine having to do that everynight whilst attempting to find accommodation and employment.
As well as going through the experience at the event some very scary stats were shared which demonstrates why the event is so important.
In 2010 there were 7 people living on the streets of Manchester, in 2018 – 123. A 757% increase! In Greater Manchester this is 268. This doesn’t account for the people sofa surfing, in temporary accommodation or in hostels.
There were 21 official deaths from Homelessness in 2018
Every day 50 people approach Manchester Council to say they have nowhere to sleep
Average Life expectancy if you like on the street 42, Life expectancy for an average adult in the UK 81. TB, a disease that was eradicated is starting to spread in the homeless community.
BUT the Booth Centre are doing amazing work and are helping – they cook 700 meals every week, last year they get 406 people into permanent accommodation and 91 people into employment.
We are immensely proud to have raised almost £2000 for the charity.