Sleep Out For Blackburn!
Spend a night under the stars at Ewood Park, all for a good cause! On the night of Friday 23rd November, fans of Blackburn FC can choose to be tucked up in their cosy warm bed at home or sleeping rough under cold skies at Ewood Park in Blackburn?
Whilst the latter may not sound like a glamourous proposition, the offer is on the table thanks to the first ever ‘Sleep Out For Blackburn’ – a fundraising event with a serious message about homelessness. Blackburn Rovers Community Trust is hosting the concept for the first time in order to highlight the plight of the many rough sleepers in the city of Blackburn with nowhere to go, with supporters urged to enrol now to take part and raise funds for the club’s official charity and local homeless support organisation Nightsafe.
The Darwen End concourse and stands will be open for the duration of the night, where sleepers will be provided with cardboard boxes as makeshift beds – giving participants an insight into the severity of sleeping conditions that people have to face not only on one night, but for every night of the year. Supporters, local businesses or any other intrepid volunteers wanting to get involved in backing the initiative will be tasked to raise a minimum of £100 for the charities involved, with added prize incentives for the top fundraisers!
Children aged 12 and over are also able to join the event when accompanied by a responsible adult. Youth groups, church groups and community organisations are all welcome to get involved and will have the opportunity to meet like-minded people looking to raise money and awareness of issues surrounding homelessness in Blackburn.
Blackburn Rovers Community Trust is also looking for enthusiastic business leaders or charismatic individuals who are willing to be among the first to sign up and help them by fronting a number of PR opportunities in the lead up to the 23rd November test, which will run from 8 pm on the Friday night through to 8 am on the Saturday morning.
“There is no easy fix to a problem as nationally endemic as homelessness has become in recent times, but any step we can take to help reduce the problem at a local level is something that we’ll dedicate ourselves too”
Gary Robinson, the chief executive officer of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, is proud that his organisation is taking a big step in an ongoing effort to help tackle homelessness issues in the local area, explaining: “Our National Citizen Service Youth Board is already very active in supporting Nightsafe and a number of other local support networks that help those who find themselves sleeping rough in Blackburn, so this major event is further testimony to how seriously we take this issue. So many people who find themselves out on the streets are often in that situation through no fault of their own and can quickly find themselves with nothing when they’ve got so much more to give and achieve in life. Indeed, our charity has been provided with some fantastic support from people who were previously homeless, so we feel very strongly that we should continue to help those who are most in need within our local area. There is no easy fix to a problem as nationally endemic as homelessness has become in recent times, but any step we can take to help reduce the problem at a local level is something that we’ll dedicate ourselves too. The Sleep Out for Blackburn concept is a perfect example – something that may not be an easy undertaking, but one that will open a lot of eyes to the plight of others and can hopefully be a fundraiser that helps people to start rebuilding their lives.”
The proceeds from the fundraising will be split evenly between the Community Trust and Nightsafe, with the proportion retained by the club’s official charity being earmarked for future projects relating to those who are homeless, such as the NCS Youth Board’s ongoing support for the issue on a local level.
Jan Larkin from Nightsafe has also told of her pleasure that the charity has been chosen as beneficiaries of the event, explaining: “Nightsafe are delighted that Blackburn Rovers Community Trust has chosen them as their partner charity for their upcoming Sleepout. Our organisation is a homeless charity based in Blackburn with Darwen and the surrounding areas that provides a variety of holistic services to homeless young people between the age of 16- 24, via a number of different projects across the borough. Nightsafe was established in December 1990 with the aim of alleviating the plight of young homeless people within Blackburn with Darwen and relies heavily on donations. Any monies kindly raised by the participants at this event will be put to very good use.”
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