Around 100 people are set to spend a night out in a cardboard box – to raise funds for the work of Birmingham City Mission (BCM). The Sleepout will take place in BCM’s HQ car park in Birmingham on Fri 28 Feb.
‘We have all seen it on our streets – homelessness, addiction and loneliness,’ said BCM’s Hannah Noble. ‘Rough sleepers huddled in doorways, soggy cardboard boxes and discarded beer cans. It’s no surprise there has been a renewed focus on homelessness in our politics and media.’
On any given night there are currently up to 5,000 rough sleepers in England, according to Shelter’s latest statistics – double the number of 2010. Last year a 31-year-old homeless man, Kane Walker, died in an underpass in Birmingham’s city centre. His death put a national spotlight on the average life expectancy of homeless people in the UK – 45 years for men, 43 for women.
Since it began in 1966 Birmingham City Mission, an exhibitor at CRE Midlands, has sought to help the city’s homeless. Its care centre now provides food, activities and support to around 200 homeless and marginalised people each year, many struggling with addiction and mental health problems. For them, the centre is ‘trust, safe, support, friends, my family.’ Through building relationships, giving practical help and sharing the Christian message, the care centre offers hope and a chance for guests to move on in their lives.
‘Homelessness is real but there are solutions,’ said care centre manager Steve Bagnall. ‘Not every situation is solved, but overall there is more success than not and we value your prayers for our guests.’
A Sleepout information and registration form can be found here.
• Birmingham City Mission are on stand F21at CRE Midlands 2020