CHARITY bosses in Portsmouth will sleep under the stars in a bid to raise £18,000 to stop vulnerable people becoming homeless.
It comes as the Society of St James gears up to stage its annual sleep out for the first time in Portsmouth overnight on November 15.
Organisers hope the initiative will wake up residents to the woes faced by people in the city at risk of losing their homes and livelihoods.
Latest government figures show 340 city households were assessed for homelessness by the council between January and March this year.
Of those, it found 127 needed the council's help to prevent homelessness, while 201 were already considered to be homeless.
Charity chief executive Trevor Pickup said he was delighted to give the charity's 2019 Portsmouth sleep out the go-ahead.
‘The Society of St James has played a significant part in reducing the numbers sleeping rough in the city, by running both emergency accommodation and providing long term housing,' he said.
‘We are still working hard to solve this problem by making more property available for these vulnerable adults and your fundraising will go a long way towards supporting us in this vision.’
Portsmouth businesses and community groups are invited to take part in the event at Victoria Park, near the city centre.
The green space is home to The Society of St James' Café in the Park. The venue takes on people supported by the charity as staff.
Participants will be entertained by live music and activities before bedding down, thanks to support from partners the Southern Co-op.
Gemma Lacey, director of sustainability and communications for the Southern Co-op which is helping promote the event, said: ‘We’ve met with The Society of St James on a number of occasions and have been really impressed with what they do.'
She added: ‘Southern Co-op originates from Portsmouth so it’s always great to be working with a charity that’s making a real and genuine difference in our home city.'
The event follows the success of the CEO Sleep Out at Fratton Park.
Society of James' 2019 sleep out is open to anyone aged 15. Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult.
There will be no alcohol served at the event.
To find out more and sign up, go to SSJ.org.uk/SleepOut