Police Commissioner preparing to sleep rough
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping will brave a potentially chilly night under the stars to help homeless people to rebuild their lives.
Mr Tipping, elected in November, will join nearly 100 other volunteer rough sleepers at the rearranged ninth annual Mansfield Big Snore on the night of Friday, March 1st.
With nothing but a sleeping bag, cardboard box and plenty of warm clothing to protect him, the 62-year-old former Labour MP will join more than 75 other volunteers (including Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale) at St Mark’s Church, Mansfield, as they raise money for homelessness charity Framework.
He said: “It’s critical that people understand the real meaning of homelessness. People sleeping rough, those who have nowhere to call home are some of the most vulnerable in our society. They are at an increased risk of being mugged, robbed and abused and we need to help them regain their footing in society, with a home and job to call their own.
“It is easy to see how, without appropriate support, people become homeless in the first place and then find themselves involved in the criminal justice system – either as the perpetrators or victims of crime. Without the help provided by organisations like Framework their lives can become a never-ending cycle of despair and disappointment.
“But homelessness should never equal hopelessness and I think events like this really help raise awareness of the problems involved so that we can find solutions. I believe that, with partners working together, we can help more people in this situation to become self-sufficient and fully engaged members of the community.”
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.
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 stable and long-term accommodation. As a result, the number of people moving on – and thus the numbers able to move in – has nearly trebled. This year’s event will help the charity to continue that life-changing work.
Peter Radage, Framework Service Director for Homelessness and Housing, said: “The solution to rough sleeping goes far beyond providing somebody with a roof over their heads. In order to effect lasting change that benefits individuals and society at large we have to provide vulnerable people with long-term help and support.
“The importance of the Mansfield Big Snore in helping us to fund that work cannot be understated. I am delighted, therefore, that Commissioner Tipping has decided to support this event and wish him the best of luck for what I am sure will prove a very cold night indeed.”
The event, which is sponsored by Western Power Distribution, 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.
All places for this year's event are taken but you can still get involved and raise money for a life-changing cause using just your mobile phone!
To make a text donation please text BIGZ13 £1,£5, or £10 to 70070.