Big sleep in Ludlow raises awareness and more than £25K for homeless charities (From Ludlow Advertiser)
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Big sleep in Ludlow raises awareness and more than £25K for homeless charities
2:45pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
A BIG sleep has awakened Ludlow to a reality that is a real problem for the town.
As well as raising a lot of cash, that was the main aim of the Ludlow Cares initiative, led by John Howick from the town’s Rotary Club.
It is, he believes, more important than the fact that 60 people aged between 18 and 80 spent a late September night under the stars, or that they will have raised more than £25,000 – the largest amount of cash made in a single charity event the town.
“People have come up to me and told me that they had not thought homelessness was a Ludlow issue but having thought about it they realise that it is,” said John.
“For me this is the key thing to come from what we have done.
“We know that this was not for real and the weather was kind but just before dawn there was a shower of rain and people realised that if it had been heavier, with a wind it would have been very uncomfortable.”
The money will be split between The Ludlow Foyer and Food Bank, and the charities Barnardo’s and St Basil’s.
John Aitken, a former Ludlow Mayor who also slept in a box under an open sky, believes that because Ludlow’s arches and alleyways are not packed with rough sleepers this does not mean it is not a problem for the town.
His work with The Foyer in Ludlow, which provides a roof over the heads of young people who would otherwise be without a home tells him that homelessness is a real issue.
This is manifested in a small army of ‘sofa surfers’ who cadge a bed with friends while other young people get driven to larger towns and cities where they join communities of people who have no choice but to sleep rough.
“During the sleep out we had supporters who left in the late evening and then there was a lights out and people settled down as best they could,” he said.
Six teenagers from Ludlow College who are on a social welfare course and helped to organise the event were there, along with Ludlow mayor Jim Smithers, the Venerable Colin Williams from St Laurence’s Church, and Vivienne Parry one of Ludlow’s Shropshire Council members.