We marked World Homeless Day last Friday with an all-night fundraiser at Christ Church Spitalfields for people facing homelessness and addiction in East London.

Our first ever Sleep Out raised over £8,000 – which will go towards the vital services we offer people in the local area.

A record number of 726 people died homeless last year in England and Wales – with two in five deaths related to drug poisoning.

“We wanted to encourage people to show their solidarity and empathy with people facing homelessness by experiencing a small dose of what many rough sleepers face on a daily basis,” said the fundraiser’s organiser, Mike Coffey.

On the night, we brought to light some of the issues facing people through poetry readings from our Creative Writing students and a screening of films shortlisted for the Recovery Street Film Festival, followed by a talk with some of the people that use our services.

About 30 people slept under the portico in the churchyard, facing rain, cold and noise all in aid of SCT.

“The experience gave us a completely different perspective on homeless, addiction and mental health issues. There is a greater role for businesses (and wider stakeholder communities) to play in tackling such issues – people need to reflect and think about the root cause of the homelessness problem. It was truly inspiring to hear the stories from the people who have (and are going through) the recovery pathway” – sleepers Stanley and Lois.

Amongst the sleepers was our CEO Steve Coles, tweeted throughout the night.

Thank you to all those that came along and participated on Friday.

If you would like to donate to us along with all those that supported our sleepers just click here.