The Independent today calls on its readers to help homeless people around the world by joining The World’s Big Sleep Out.
The event, which is being run in London in association with our homeless appeal, will see thousands lying on pavements in sleeping bags and on cardboard boxes in 50 cities from London to Los Angeles and Madrid to New Delhi.
Stars including Will Smith and Oscar-winner Helen Mirren will read their chosen “bedtime stories” to crowds at Times Square in New York and Trafalgar Square in London.
Stellar musical line-ups have been arranged to entertain people sleeping out for the night.
Ellie Goulding and Ziggy Marley will perform at the Los Angeles event in Elysian Park, award-winning singer-songwriter Frank Turner will play Chicago’s Lincoln Park, while Brit Award winners Tom Walker and Rag’n’Bone Man will be joined by Travis and singer Jake Bugg in London.
The Script are set to play the Dublin event, to be held at the city’s university, Trinity College Dublin.
Every participant will help to raise awareness of rough sleeping and funds to tackle homelessness locally and globally.
Organisers hope to hit a global total of more than £40m to support charities helping over 1 million homeless and displaced people worldwide.
Those who can’t make it to the centre of their city to sleep out can sign up to run a Host Your Own version in their gardens, office car parks or schools.
After performing, Mirren, 74, plans to sleep in a friend’s back garden. She has launched her own fundraising page to raise extra money, writing: “[We will] create the world’s largest display of solidarity and support for those experiencing homelessness and displacement. Please give generously – your donation will provide long-term help and hope to people who are homeless in your community and around the world. Thank you.”
Event founder Josh Littlejohn, a 2019 Pride of Britain Award winner, said of the London partnership: “We hope Londoners will get on board and join us in Trafalgar Square on 7 December or host their own sleep out for friends and family. Together we can fight global homelessness.”
UK readers can also vote for their favourite buskers in the run-up to the event. They will then get to perform at sleep outs around the country.
The final winners will be revealed on 29 November.
See Twitter @BigSleepOuts/ Facebook – @theworldsbigsleepout/ Instagram @worldsbigsleepout.
The event will run from 5pm on Saturday 7 December. Sign up at www.bigsleepout.com
This year’s Christmas campaign is for The Homeless Fund, which will finance desperately needed services. The campaign will highlight the worst instances of homelessness globally, with money raised going to help homeless projects in London. Click here to donate.