Volunteer rough sleepers required for Mansfield Big Snore
People in Mansfield are being urged to sleep rough for a single night next month to ensure that others don’t have to.
Mansfield St Mark’s Church, in partnership with Framework, is challenging people to give up their warm beds for a single night and take part in the ninth annual Mansfield Big Snore at St Mark’s Church, Nottingham Road, on Friday, January 25th 2013.
Framework believes that around seven people are currently sleeping rough in the Mansfield area every night – a number that would be significantly higher if it was not for its work in the town.
Without Framework and without the Mansfield Move On Service there would be more people living rough this winter.
Wayne, who was sleeping rough this time last year
The Big Snore, which has attracted its first sponsor this year in the shape of Western Power Distribution, will again raise money for Framework’s Mansfield Appeal, which helps former rough sleepers to develop independent, happy and prosperous lives in the community.
Last year’s event, which raised almost £18,000, allowed Framework to launch a specialist “move-on” service at its accommodation complex in Sherwood Street that focuses solely on supporting former rough sleepers into long-term accommodation. As a result, the number of people moving on – and thus the numbers able to move in – has nearly trebled.
Peter Radage, Framework Service Director for Homelessness and Housing, said: “Rough sleeping remains a serious issue in Mansfield, which is the most significant centre of rough sleeping in the county outside of Nottingham.
“The Mansfield Appeal has been hugely successful but we need to keep that momentum going – that is why we are so grateful to all those behind the Mansfield Big Snore. Everyone who took part last year can clearly see how the money they raised is being spent and the results it is having. This event not only shows the people of Mansfield at their very best – it also delivers life changing results to the most vulnerable people in the community.”
Event organiser Pam Bishop from St Mark’s, who has been involved with the project for the last eight years, said: “This all started in January 2005 with a choir member and friend sleeping out overnight on the church steps. They raised £250 which we gave to our Framework neighbours at Sherwood Street Centre prompting us to find out more about homelessness in the town. Since then we have built up a good relationship with Framework doing what we can to raise awareness of homelessness, to lobby for better services and provision, to help in practical ways and raise funds for their invaluable work. We look forward to another successful event this time.’ .
Graham Paling, Western Power Distribution’s Team Manager for Mansfield, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Mansfield Big Snore. The work that the charity does is crucial to helping homeless people in the area, particularly at this time of year when it is cold outside. Some of our own staff will be taking part on the night and we hope that the event is the most successful yet, raising valuable funds for The Mansfield Appeal.”
Sir Alan Meale MP, who has taken part in the event for each of the last four years, will again don his woolly hat, gloves and overcoat to sleep out this year. He explained: “Mansfield and the surrounding areas still have a serious rough sleeping problem, and that is something that should concern all of us.
“Framework continues to do great work in tackling this problem has been making real progress in the last 12 months. It is so pleasing to hear that they have successfully moved on so many former rough sleepers to better and more independent lives. Every pound raised at this event will be used to help some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our society. For that reason I would urge people to get involved.”
Wayne, 36, is a terrific example of what the Mansfield Appeal is already achieving. He slept rough for more than two years as result of serious drug problems and was still living rough at the time of last year’s Big Snore – often in a tent at Sutton Reservoir. Because of the Mansfield Appeal, he was able to move into and subsequently out of the Sherwood Street Centre with the help of the new Mansfield Move On Service. He is now living independently in a flat in Mansfield and knows that his days of rough sleeping are now behind him.
He said: “If I could go back and change things I would never have got involved with drugs in the first place, but Framework has given me a second chance. If it wasn’t for them then I really think that I would still be living rough, and if the was the case I really think that this time I would have ended up dead.
“In five years’ time I still see myself living in may flat. I want to come off my methadone prescription and get back into volunteer work. Then I can think about doing other things with my life.
“Without Framework and without the Mansfield Move On Service there would be more people living rough this winter.”
The event, which is open to all ages, will begin at 8.30pm, when participants can enjoy hot refreshments and also take a moment to reflect on homelessness. It will end with a cooked breakfast the following morning at 7am. Participants are asked to bring their own materials to construct a shelter in the car park and keep themselves warm for the night.
To find out more and to take part click here
For the first time ever the Mansfield Big Snore has a sponsor! Western Power Distribution has stepped in to support the event this year and we thank them for it.