unnamed (1)One night can change everything. Could you give up one night of comfort so that someone else won’t have to?

Advent Sleepout Challenge, an exciting new event, launches this year with two charities that provide essential and life-changing support to homeless people across the North East: Church Urban Fund and Depaul UK. Both charities are committed to fighting homelessness and other forms of poverty across the UK.

On Friday 4th December 2015, Church Urban Fund and Depaul UK are inviting Christian communities across the North East of England to join them in giving up a night of comfort in a unique response to advent.

People are being asked to come together at one of 3 venues across the North East and share the experience of sleeping out to raise money for Depaul’s North East ‘Nightstop’ emergency accommodation service and Church Urban Fund’s Together Network working locally in Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Durham to transform lives.

Sleepouts will be taking place at Sunderland Minster, St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle and the Holy Trinity Church Centre, Middlesbrough.

Today there are still hundreds of vulnerable people in the North East who find themselves homeless and marginalised often through no fault of their own. You can help us to support those who may be struggling with debt, homelessness, isolation, addiction, abuse or violence.

It is estimated that on any one night 35 people sleep rough across the North East Region [1] and this figure does not take into account for the fact that approximately 62% of single homeless people are hidden and may not show up in official figures[2]. There are 8.8 million people that are struggling with problem debt.[3]

Martin Houghton-Brown, CEO of Depaul UK, said:

“Advent is a special time in our lives, a time for reflection, gratitude and charity. For many of the young people we work with, a difficult night’s sleep and a Christmas alone are a just part of a desperate routine. This is why I am particularly grateful to everyone giving up the comfort of their bed and sleeping out for Depaul UK this advent. With the money raised from Advent Sleepout we can find more homeless young people a home, help rebuild more family relationships, and transform more young lives. I invite everyone to share in this humbling experience with us and reclaim what advent means to them.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 11.59.43Bishop of Jarrow saidBy December 4th many of us will be well into our thinking about Christmas and what better way could there be to spend a night as part of our thinking about Christmas than to spend a night’s sleep-out as we prepare to welcome the Son of God who had nowhere to lay his head. The Christmas story not only tells of Mary and Joseph who found themselves homeless in Bethlehem – where no doubt a great deal of sofa surfing was going on that week — but later they find themselves fleeing as refugees into Egypt away from the cruelty of King Herod. I have been wondering over the past few weeks about how easy it was to find somewhere to stay when they arrived in Egypt and how the local people treated them. I hope that for all of us this will be a night of good reflection, good company and of course a chance to raise money for two charities who contribute so much to our life in the North East.”

Paul Hackwood, Executive Chair of Church Urban Fund said “Advent is a unique time for Christians as we remember that God chose to walk among us in the most truly humble of circumstances. The Advent Sleepout Challenge is a way for us to respond to that by placing ourselves in our very own ‘stables’ so that we can support the most vulnerable in our country.

“On top of this, we imagine this will be a really fun way to do something special in the run up to Christmas!”

Advent Sleepout Challenge invites you to swap your bed for a sleeping bag and stone floor and experience what will be a unique and inspiring night.

For more information, interviews, photos or to join a sponsored sleepout in your area please email:

sunderlandsleepout@depauluk.org

newcastlesleepout@depauluk.org

middlesbroughsleepout@depauluk.org