Wigan fund-raisers brave the cold to camp in their gardens and support charity The Brick

Hundreds of people swapped their cosy beds for the great outdoors to take part in a charity fund-raiser – and there is still time to get involved.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 8:47 am
Updated Thursday, 1st April 2021, 8:50 am

More than 260 people across Wigan and Leigh slept in their gardens on Saturday, raising more than £5,000 for The Brick, which supports those facing poverty and homelessness.

The Big Back Garden Sleep launched last year, in place of the annual Brick Sleepout, to bring together people in the community and to raise money for The Brick during the pandemic.

People were asked to sleep in their gardens, either in a tent or – for the braver participants – in just a sleeping bag on the grass.

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Evie and Jane Webb in their tent
Evie and Jane Webb in their tent

Going even further was Algie, an outreach worker at The Brick, who used to be homeless. He slept in a doorway in Wigan town centre on Saturday and has now raised more than £2,000.

The pandemic has affected The Brick, with the charity’s two shops and The Brickworks closing in line with Covid-19 guidelines.

Donations from local business and the wider community have reduced, as people face tough financial times during the pandemic.

Keely Dalfen, finance and commercial director at The Brick, said: “Once again, our amazing community has come together in support of The Brick and to support those in our community facing poverty and crisis.

David Simpson wraps up

“We are overwhelmed, not only by the amount of money that has been raised, but by the number of people who came together on Saturday night to show their support, especially at a time when everyone is struggling, either with financial, health or mental health issues.”

Among those who took part was Rachel Luke, who said: “I joined in the sleep with my daughter to give up our home comforts for a night and to experience how the homeless sleep every night. I have supported The Brick since July as a volunteer and after seeing how homelessness has grown in Manchester city centre. We enjoyed spending a night without TV and our luxuries, finding alternative entertainment for the night.”

Catherine Garner said: “We did the Big Back Garden Sleep last year for the first time and thought it was a great idea as children can get involved.

“We wanted to support this local charity helping people in our community whose lives have been affected by poverty.

Catherine Garner and son Jack, 10, camp out

“We felt with the impact Covid has had on so many levels that it was important, as it has impacted lots of people that might not have been affected by poverty before now. More people have had to visit food banks and were struggling. It made us realise how grateful we are for everything we have.

“Jack (age 10) enjoyed camping out and loved seeing how much we could raise.

“He was so pleased with the £771 total and wants to get more people involved next year.”

Keely added: “If anyone still wants to join the Big Back Garden Sleep, and were unable to join us on Saturday, the campaign is extended throughout the Easter holidays. So grab your sleeping bag, encourage friends and family to sponsor you, and plan your Big Back Garden Sleep!”

Rachel Luke and her daughter take part in the sleep out

To donate to The Brick, go to justgiving.com/campaign/thebigbackgardensleep

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