Ten Birmingham councillors have registered to take part in St Basils 25th BIG SleepOut on Friday 28th November, sleeping outside, in a cardboard box, in a Digbeth carpark alongside scores of other local people keen to help prevent youth homelessness in Birmingham.
This event, sponsored by local box maker Jaffabox, aids St Basils homeless prevention and support services.
St Basils helps a grand total of 4000 young people per year with advice and prevention services, accommodation, support and learning, skills and work services. Young people need support to access opportunities and to learn the skills needed to be independent and move on successfully. St Basils are reliant on donations from the general public and income from fundraising events to provide this support to their 414 young residents.
One of the oldest and longest running events of its kind, this yearâ€™s St Basils BIG SleepOut is aiming to have 414 participants to match place for place the number of vulnerable young people staying with St Basils that very same night.
The group of Councillors has been rallied together partly thanks to the inspirational story of Cllr Sharon Thompson, elected this year in Soho Ward, herself an ex-resident of St Basils in the late 1990s.
Cllr Sharon Thompson said: â€œHomeless young people need opportunities to create a more positive mindset that shows them they can do things. St Basils can offer a lot of things but for that to happen we need society to invest in young people. As this is the 25th year of BIG SleepOut this is the opportunity for Birmingham to get behind this event and St Basils and all this charity does to help young people go on to achieve in life and create a better future for this city.â€
Cllr John Cotton who also took part in St Basils promo film for the event said: “It’s a sad and shocking fact that the number of people rough sleeping has shot up across the country. We’ve got to tackle the root causes and campaign for change. That’s why I’m joining the Big Sleep Out and backing the fantastic work that St. Basils do, day in, day out, to support vulnerable young people in our community”.
The Lord Mayor Cllr Shafique Shah will also be visiting the event to show his support and will take part in the midnight service.
The group calling themselves â€˜Brummies4StBasils are looking for sponsors. Visit: https://www.justgiving.com/Brummies4StBasils to sponsor them.
Or sign up for yourself and visit www.stbasils.org.uk/sleepout to join them.
Notes to Editors:
The 10 Councillors registered to take part at BIG SleepOut 2014 are:
- Councillor Sharon Thompson
- Councillor Anita Ward
- Councillor Mick Brown
- Councillor Jess Philips
- Councillor Kerry Jenkins
- Councillor Claire Spencer
- Councillor Zafar Iqbal
- Councillor Mohammed Idress
- Councillor John Cotton
- Councillor Andy Cartwright
St Basils began 42 years ago out of St Basils church on Heath Mill Lane, Digbeth as a basic shelter for young homeless men. Still with its HQ in Digbeth St Basils now helps over 4000 young people aged 16-25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness housing 414 young people per night.
With 24 of its 27 supported accommodation schemes in Birmingham, the majority of St Basils work is still in this city but St Basils now has services in Sandwell, Solihull, Worcestershire and Coventry as well.
Far from being just a roof we now have, across all the areas we work in, a range of prevention, accommodation and support services to help young people regain the stability they need to rebuild their lives, gain skills, training and employment and move on. The aim is to help them successfully break the cycle of homelessness, as our shared hope is that the next generation will be free from this blight on young lives and instead they can realise a bright, purposeful and fulfilling future.
For more info visit www.stbasils.org.uk
Marketing and Communications Officer
Tel: 0121 772 9614