On 20th November, Wycombe Homeless Connection is holding its Big Sleep Out in the grounds of All Saints Church High Wycombe – its biggest single generator of funds for the year. All Saints Marlow have decided to support the event by doing our own mini version in our churchyard on the same night.
Homelessness is a growing problem. Wycombe Homeless Connection has helped over 400 people in the last year; people who do not qualify for council assistance and have nowhere else to turn. Homeless individuals are often people like you and me who have fallen on hard times. They are, in the main, a hidden group; the usual picture of the unwashed down-and-out squatting in a doorway with a can of cheap lager is completely unrepresentative of the people I met while working at one of the night shelters during the last winter.
Homeless typically is the result of a relationship breakdown, redundancy or simply the end of a tenancy. The adage that you are only two pay cheques away from homelessness certainly seems to be true. If you are unfortunate enough to be under the age of 60 and have no children, then the council is unable to help – you are literally on your own. Unless you have the money for a rent deposit, homelessness swiftly follows.
WHC believes that every individual has worth and deserves a fresh start, no matter what their situation. It costs in the region of £160,000 to run its advice, support and resettlement service and its January-March winter night shelter. Our sleep out in Marlow will be a sponsored event raising money to support this vital work.
So how can you help? There are three ways: You can join Dave and spend the night of 20th November under the stars in your own personalised cardboard box or you can sponsor the hardy souls who are brave (or foolhardy) enough to do so. To sponsor someone, please go to the Marlow Big Sleep Out’s Virgin Money Giving page and find the team/individual who you want to sponsor and then donate. The third way is to be in the support group which will provide hot drinks in the evening and breakfast in the morning to all the intrepid ‘rough sleepers’.
I met some lovely people, men and women, at last year’s night shelter and I know how grateful they were for the little we were able to do. Our vision encourages us to be visible and proactive within the community and to make a difference in the world. By supporting this event we will be doing both. Together we can make a small difference to a big and growing problem.
For this and many more stories about what is going on within our church, download your latest copy of The Bridge – the magazine of All Saints Marlow.