THE Whitechapel Centre launched the Liverpool Sleepout in 2014 and is running this successful awareness and fundraising event again this October. Over 250 people slept outside all night in St Nick’s church last October to raise awareness of the awful conditions people face when rough sleeping, and to raise vital funds for Liverpool’s leading homeless charity. This year is set to be just as successful with people already signing-up to brace an Autumn night outside. The Liverpool Sleepout is on Friday 14th October from 7pm with breakfast served the next morning from 6am. There are prizes for the top fundraisers and for the best onesie – now a Liverpool Sleepout tradition. Visit www.whitechaplecentre.co.uk/sleepout to sign-up to secure your place. You can register as an individual or team and you will be supported with information and resources to help you reach your fundraising targets. Participants must be aged 18 and over. Ruth McCaughley, Fundraising Manager for The Whitechapel Centre said: “The Liverpool Sleepout should be on everyone’s bucket list for things to do in Liverpool. It’s a unique experience and an opportunity to really make a difference to reducing homelessness in our community. In the last two years we have been overwhelmed by the support from individuals, businesses and community groups wanting to take part because they also believe that homelessness should not be happening in the modern world. The Whitechapel Centre has been around for 40 years and we want to continue until homelessness is no longer an option people face when they fall on hard times.” Homelessness can happen to anyone for any number of reasons. Poor mental health, relationship breakdowns, bereavement, job loss, physical health problems, debt and loss of income are all reasons in a seemingly endless list of catalysts for homelessness. Sleeping on the street can be very dangerous and often people experience physical abuse, develop serious health conditions, and sleeping rough can lead to death. The average life expectancy of a rough sleeper is only 47 years. Last year over 650 calls were made to the No Second Night Out phone line managed by The Whitechapel Centre reporting people at risk of sleeping rough. The charity’s response, which includes an outreach team who are on the street every day, meant that 99% did not spend a second night out. Open every day of the year, The Whitechapel Centre aims to be there for those people facing homelessness to help them resolve their situation as quickly as possible. This includes daily services for rough sleepers, expert housing and benefit advice and health and wellbeing support. The charity also provides learning and education activities so that people can gain valuable life skills to help them maintain a home, and their independence, such as budgeting, managing their health, smarter food shopping and cooking. Fundraising for The Whitechapel Centre helps them to continue to provide their vital services that can prevent people from facing a life on the streets.