The Big Calderdale Sleepout takes over the Piece Hall

Beth Currie, the fundraising and marketing manager for the charity, at the Piece Hall
Beth Currie, the fundraising and marketing manager for the charity, at the Piece Hall

The annual sleep out event raised vital funds for homeless charity, Calderdale Smart Move.

Over 200 participants arrived from 7pm on Friday night and camped out in the Piece Hall in Halifax centre until 6am this morning.

Smart Move is a charity that supports homeless and vulnerably housed people, by helping them find suitable accommodation. They also provide them with the support and resources they need in order to live independently. In 2017 93% of people that received help from Smart Move were still in accommodation twelve months later.

Beth Currie, fundraising and marketing manager for Smart move said: "We're giving a soft experience of rough sleeping, to experience just one night of what it's like to be without a home."

The event also included a simulated food kitchen, games and live performances from local fireman and buskers.

"I'm excited, we're expecting a cold night but it should be fun and we'll get some games going and maybe a few songs," said Stephen Dunwell, 44, the Scout section leader for Bradford 65th Scouts based in Shelf.

According to Shelter, there are nearly 280,000 people registered as homeless in the UK, 126,000 of which are children.

In 2018, 726 homeless people died, meaning that the number of deaths amongst homeless people has increased by 51% in the last six years.

Richard, 38, who was homeless this time last year, volunteered at the event: "Events like this are really important to actually engage on a real level with the community in local areas, to actually show that the plight of the homeless is a really important thing."

Smart Move hopes to raise £25,000 from the sleep out event. If this amount is achieved, an anonymous donor has pledged to donate a further £25,000.

Local businesses across Calderdale rallied behind Smart Move and supported the event with an array of donations. The Wine Barrel have promised to donate a percentage of their takings from Friday. The Skyes Curry Company and Ellie's Cakes and Bakes donated 120 curries and over 100 cupcakes. The Trading Rooms opened early this morning to serve bacon and vegan sausage sandwiches to the participants.

The charity are still collecting donations, if you would like to donate, visit https://localgiving.org/fundraising/bigcalderdalesleepout/