Uniting to help the homeless
Leeds United Foundation, the official charity of the famous football club, has launched a unique fundraising event to support the city’s homeless and expand its work in the community.
The ‘Big United Sleep Out’ will see over 100 volunteers face the challenges of homelessness by agreeing to sleep out overnight at Trinity Leeds on Thursday 14th April. Retailer Marks & Spencer, which first started trading in Leeds Kirkgate market in 1884, is also supporting the initiative by providing a ‘Survivors’ Breakfast’ at its café in the Leeds Trinity store. Employees from the store will also be swapping their beds for blankets.
Mick Ferguson, Leeds United Foundation CEO, said:
“Leeds is one of the very best cities in the UK but there is an increasing challenge of children and young people facing homelessness. At Christmas, that is especially heart breaking. We want to pull together so that nobody is alone in facing such a desperate situation. The Big United Sleep Out will help raise all important funds so that we can support them and give them hope, guidance and the opportunities that they desperately need.”
Leeds United legend Eddie Gray and Coronation Street star Colson Smith joined the launch at Trinity Leeds, encouraging fans, Christmas shoppers and the wider public to sign up and lend their support. The pair also handed out food and hot drinks to the homeless, along with sleeping bags.
Colson Smith, Leeds United Foundation Ambassador said:
“This is a great initiative by the Foundation to make sure our children and young people in particular are steered away from having to sleep rough. In the modern day it’s something you don’t expect and I was personally shocked when I saw some of the challenges they face. I’d encourage as many people as possible across this great city to volunteer, join us for the sleep out and raise as much as they can to support this great cause.”
‘His Church’ Charity has also pledged its support by providing sleeping bags and refreshments for the event.
Mark Robson, Finance and Operations Manager at M&S Leeds, said:
“We are committed to supporting local communities as part of M&S’s Plan A commitments. Here in Leeds, we have chosen The Archway as our store’s Charity of the Year and we’re delighted to be working with the Leeds United Foundation on this campaign. Some M&S colleagues will be taking part in the sleep over and I’m sure the volunteers will enjoy our ‘Survivors’ Breakfast’ the following day. It’s a great campaign for a very worthy cause.”
Those wishing to take part in the event can sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or calling 0113 367 6014. Registration is free and each volunteer will receive 2 tickets to a Leeds United home game.