Big Chill calls off Big Sleep

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Feb, 2019 08:37 PM

Alabaré said it was “a very difficult decision” to postpone their flagship fund raising event ‘The BIG Sleep’ on Friday night, but concerns about the extreme weather conditions and the safety of those taking part meant that the event had to be called off at the last minute.

The BIG Sleep, which raises awareness of those forced to sleep on the streets and raises much needed funds, sees volunteers spend the night sleeping outside in the Cloisters at Salisbury Cathedral.

Everyone who had agreed to take part had pledged to raise a minimum of £100 for Alabaré's work with the most vulnerable, but in fact much more had been promised.

Helen Inglis, Church Engagement Officer for Alabaré Christian Care & Support said:
“This is our thirteenth BIG Sleep, and we have often held the event in sub-zero temperatures, never postponing the event before. Given the very difficult travelling conditions on Friday, and high number of school closures, we believe it was the right decision to postpone the event on this occasion.”

The charity called off the event on the Friday morning saying:
“We appreciate that many people are disappointed at the decision we have taken to postpone tonight’s BIG Sleep. We are acutely aware that the homeless people we are all here to support do not have the opportunity to choose when to, and when not, to sleep out.

“This is why we are so grateful to our supporters for raising funds to help us keep homeless people safe. Our staff and volunteers at Alabaré Place and Drop In Centre are working tirelessly to help everyone who is at risk of sleeping rough in Salisbury this winter, and have additional emergency support in place through the Severe Weather Emergency Provision. We could not do this without the help of compassionate supporters in our communities.

“We are very proud that around half of those signed up for our 2019 BIG Sleep are children from our local schools, many of which have also had to take the difficult decision to close today due to concerns about safety travelling to and from their sites.”

And the charity is keen to make clear that the event has just been postponed, not cancelled. Helen Inglis said:
“We are working with Salisbury Cathedral to agree a replacement date for the event as quickly as possible, and we hope to announce this in the next few days. We are already looking forward to welcoming all our amazing BIG Sleepers on our new date in the next few weeks, around half of whom are children from our local schools.

"Plus the great news is that the new date will give the opportunity for other people to sign up for the BIG Sleep – so please visit our website for more details – www.alabare.co.uk.

“Throughout the extreme weather our staff and volunteers at Alabaré Place and Drop In Centre are working tirelessly to help everyone who is at risk of sleeping rough in Salisbury, with additional emergency support in place through the Severe Weather Emergency Provision. We could not do this without the help of our supporters and BIG Sleepers – thank you so much!”

Alabaré is a Christian charity based in Salisbury that supports vulnerable, homeless and marginalised people. It offers support to thousands of people in need through its homes and services across the South and South West of England and Wales. They provide specialist support for young mothers and babies, people suffering from addictions, young people and those leaving the acre system, the mentally ill and those with learning difficulties and armed forces veterans.

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