Deepdale is used to seeing thousands of people wrapped up warm for a match day, but on a cold November night an event with a difference is due to take place.Advertisement
Big PNE Sleepout has the ambitious aim to buy a house for rough sleepers in the city.
As part of the Foxton Centre’s 50th year anniversary the charity’s housing scheme helps to give the city’s homeless somewhere safe and secure to live.
Prestonians, businesses and PNE fans are being asked to get in their sleeping bag for the night and bed down at Deepdale Stadium to raise the funds needed.
Running on Friday 15 November 2019 the event will give you an insight into what it’s like to be a rough sleeper in Preston with just a piece of cardboard for comfort for the night.
Chief executive of the Foxton Centre Jeff Marsh said: “The Housing First approach was first developed in New York by the Pathways to Housing organisation in 1992. It has since been widely adopted in the USA and become central to the national homelessness strategies in Canada, Denmark, Finland and France, with widespread success.
“The Foxton Centre was one of the first organisations to adopt the approach in the UK in 2015.
“Housing First uses stable housing as a platform to enable individuals with multiple and complex needs to begin recovery and move away from homelessness.
“We hope the sleep out will raise enough money to allow us to buy a run down property, refurbish it and use to enable people to move off the streets. Whilst refurbishing it we will be able to offer training and volunteering opportunities for people.”
Preston North End star Louis Moult recently visited The Foxton Centre and has put his support behind the sleepout.
The PNE striker lost his mum Vicky, 43, to alcoholism when he was just 15 years old.
Louis said: “It is a huge event in terms of raising money and raising awareness. The Foxton Centre want to raise £50,000 to buy a house which can be a shelter for people who need it.
“I have seen first hand the brilliant work that The Foxton Centre is doing in the community, so hopefully we can get as many people involved as possible with us on the night, raising as much money as possible for a very important cause in the Preston community.
“Raising awareness of the issues of homelessness and drug and alcohol addiction is something I’m very passionate about. To anyone who is going through these situations, I’d say ‘pick up the phone,’ go to somewhere like The Foxton Centre. They really can help with alcohol, drugs and homelessness.
“Come and speak to the volunteers here and the workers here. You’re not alone.”
The sleepout is backed by the Preston North End Community and Education Trust.
Head of Community at the Trust Andy Haythornthwaite said: “We are proud to be able to support the issue of homelessness in Preston. People sleeping rough has been on the increase for some years now and it is important to raise awareness and do what we can to collectively help improve the lives of many people.
“By making the stadium available, we can offer members of the community and the excellent football family we have here at Preston to come and experience a night as a rough sleeper. In doing so, you will be raising significant awareness of the issue and hopefully some vital fund raising to help the Foxton Centre reach their £50k goal.
“We are encouraging all PNE fans to take up the challenge and to once more fill the Kop the evening.”
Donating cardboard for the event and putting forward a group of employees to sleep out will be Biffa.
The firm is an official partner of the sleepout event and has been helping the Foxton throughout this year, providing waste services and skips to the centre during building work.
The sleepout is available for individuals, small businesses and large companies to take part in.
As an individual – minimum target of £100 sponsorship
Businesses with one to five employees – minimum target of £250 sponsorship
Businesses with six to 25 employees – minimum target of £500 sponsorship
Businesses with 26 or more employees – minimum target of £1,000 sponsorship
Those taking part are then encouraged to raise additional sponsorship for undertaking the sleepout.
To register your interest in taking part then please visit the Big PNE Sleepout page on the Foxton Centre website.
If you don’t fancy sleeping out at Deepdale but want to support the event you can make a donation at The Big PNE Sleep Out appeal page.