Hundreds prepare for a night in aid of homeless

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More than 200 people will sleep in a cardboard box on Hastings seafront for a night in aid of the Seaview Project.

The charity event will take place at the Stade on Friday, September 30. The aim is to raise awareness for homeless and less fortunate people in the area.

Sue Burgess, of the Seaview Project, said: “We hope it will raise the profile of the Seaview Project. We need support because at the moment we are growing and seeing phenomenal increases.

“We need as much support as we can get. All of the funding raised at this event will go to frontline services.”

There will be evening entertainment hosted by Steve Furst, actor, comedian, writer and panellist on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, and performances by two bands called King Size Slim and The Rufus Stone band.

The Seaview Project is facing a tough time after a number of funding cuts.

Mrs Burgess added: “We are always looking for support in other ways. We are always looking for volunteers, sleeping bags or food.

“By doing the Big Sleep, this will raise awareness. It’s going to be a huge event.”

Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney said: “Seaview is an essential organisation, working with some of the most vulnerable people in our community, in particular helping to get rough sleepers into secure and safe housing, which is why the council helps to fund their work.

“Last year, I participated in the Big Sleep event.

“I would urge everyone to sponsor someone who’s sleeping rough for a night for Seaview, or do it themselves.

“While sleeping rough is dangerous and not something anyone would do by choice, participating in the Big Sleep is completely safe, and a lot more fun than you might think.”

A spokesperson from Hastings Works, a sponsor of the Big Sleep, said: “Seaview have for many years been supporting the most vulnerable people in our community. We are very pleased to be a part of such a great community event and to help support the cause.”

This is the second time the event has taken place, previously raising £23,000 for the project.

It is free to participate in, but you must raise a minimum of £25.

The event starts at 7.30pm, with entertainment open to the public until 10pm, when the cardboard city opens exclusively to those taking part in the Sleep Out. It ends at 7.30am the next day.

The Observer’s senior reporter Laura Cooke, who took part in the inaugural event last year, said: “At first I was a bit apprehensive about taking part in the Big Sleep, as I have never been camping before, never mind bedding down for the night in a cardboard box.

“But it was a wonderful event and there was a terrific atmosphere.”

Observer reporter Maria Hudd will be taking part this time round. To donate to the cause, visit https://thebigsleephastings.com/fundraisers/maria-hudd.

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