Around 100 people have braved the rain and cold to raise £10,000 for a Leamington charity which helps the homeless.
Helping Hands, asked people and businesses to take part in the ‘Helping Hands Sleep Out’ which was raising much-needed funds for its new Drop-In Centre and shop which has opened Gloucester Street.
But the charity said it was “bowled over” by the response which saw 100 people pitching down to for the night in the former graveyard of All Saints in the town to give them insight into the conditions faced by the homeless.
Helping Hands operations manager, Lianne Kirkman, said the sleep out had proved so successful it could become an annual event.
“We have been bowled over by the response we have had from everyone – from the people who slept out, to the various organisations who have helped us stage the event,” she said.
“It was not the coldest night of the winter so far, but it was pretty wet and I think everyone who slept out realised just what people who sleep on the streets have to face, day-in, day-out.
“A lot of people made the point that while they slept out for one night they were able to go home, warm up with a bath can get something to eat – not things that the homeless can do.
“We have had fantastic support from everyone from Father Christopher Wilson of All Saints, right through to the army who helped us throughout the night as well as the all our volunteers who made sure everyone was fed.
“Thanks must go out to Pancho Catering provided all the food during the event and Warwick Ambulance Association who sent six responders who stayed up all night to make sure everyone was safe.
“A number of agencies explained to those taking part, the extent of the problem locally and what support there is for people who have to sleep rough.
“I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part or helped the event become such a great success.”
Helping Hands operates in Leamington, Kenilworth and Warwick, working with the homeless, victims of domestic abuse and those with drug and alcohol addictions.