Sleep Out to fight poverty and homelessness

January 17th, 2014

Food for thought: Joanna Wake and Andy Preston, chairman of the Philanthropic Foundation, are urging Teessiders to take part in April’s Big Tees Sleepout at Middlesbrough College in another big fundraising effort to fight local poverty.

A LEADING charity is calling on Teessiders to spend the night in the cold in the fight against poverty and homelessness across local towns.

The third Big Tees Sleepout is being in the grounds of Middlesbrough College overlooking Boro’s Riverside Stadium on the night of Friday, April 25.

Funds raised will go towards food banks, soup kitchens, hostels for the homeless and others in desperate need across Teesside.

Two sponsored sleepouts held last year raised a combined £27,000 – but now Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation is appealing for more big-hearted fundraisers to step forward for a night of discomfort.

Andy Preston, chairman of a charity that has raised more than £500,000 for local causes over the past two-and-a-half years, said: “We were delighted when the first Big Tees Sleepout raised £7,000, but the second one last November nearly trebled that figure.

“Thanks to an incredible generosity of spirit and determination by nearly 100 people to go the extra mile to make a difference, £20,000 for some truly amazing local causes.

“Now, with the kind support of Middlesbrough College, we’re doing all again – but we need the help of the Teesside people if we want to continue to provide vital funds to food banks, soup kitchens and the many homelessness hostels we have here on Teesside. We’d love even more fundraisers to bring in even more money.”

Joanna Wake, co-founder of the Big Tees Sleepout, added: “Sleeping rough is uncomfortable and, if we’re unlucky with the weather, it can be cold too.

“We can’t promise those who take part a good night’s sleep but we can promise that by giving up the comfort of their bed for one night and getting everyone they know to sponsor them they will make a real difference for those in desperate need.

“The sleepouts are making a massive difference. Those who benefit have been completely overwhelmed and so touched at the generosity of their warm-hearted fellow Teessiders.”

November’s sponsored sleepout resulted in £5,000 going to the Salvation Army to buy Christmas presents for children who faced a miserable festive season, enabled the Trussell Trust to provide food hampers to poverty-stricken locals and paid for a Christmas Day lunch organised by Stockton’s Moses Project and Rivers of Life Church for individuals and struggling families.

The third Big Tees Sleepout takes place at Middlesbrough College on Friday April 25 and Saturday April 26 from 7pm to 7am.

Those taking part this time are advised to bring a sleeping bag and layers of warm clothing, while there will also be access to toilets and hot drinks throughout the night.

To sign up, for more information or to sponsor those taking part in the Big Tees Sleepout, visit

Winner of the Heart of the Community award for the Teesside region in the prestigious North East Business Awards, Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation is a charitable movement committed to making Teesside a better place to live, work and do business.

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