Housing

The Big Issue braves the cold at The World’s Big Sleep Out

Big Issue ambassador Sabrina Cohen-Hatton spoke on stage at the “Live Aid for Homelessness” while Rag ‘n’ Bone Man donned a Big Issue beanie to back our bid to end homelessness

World's Big Sleep Out

More than 60,000 people have slept rough across 52 cities in The World’s Big Sleep Out – and The Big Issue was at the heart of the star-studded Trafalgar Square event.

Big Issue ambassador Sabrina Cohen-Hatton spoke on stage in London while hardy souls from our charitable arm, The Big Issue Foundation (TBIF), braved the cold and torrential rain to raise more than £2,000 to help the homeless.

There was also big-name support from soulful sensation Rag ’n’ Bone Man who donned a Big Issue-branded beanie for his set while thousands of participants also backed The Big Issue by holding up our Christmas Kids’ Cover Competition winner Kaoriko Tamura’s design.

Big Issue vendors got involved too, selling the magazine and spreading word of the work that The Big Issue does to dismantle poverty.

“I’ve found the whole event very positive,” said London seller Chris. “People are actually happy to chat to vendors rather than being ignored. Every person has been happy to learn about The Big Issue and The Big Issue Foundation which has been great.”

Another vendor Dave added: “It’s amazing how many people turned up. I wasn’t expecting the response. Crazy but good crazy.”

Stephen Robertson, TBIF chief executive, insisted that the event showed the “sense of purpose” in work to end homelessness.

“It’s been a great show of inclusive unity and sense of purpose towards working together to bring about an end to homelessness,” he said. “All credit should be given to Josh Littlejohn and his team for creating a remarkable sense of global purpose and funding for homelessness related projects around the world.”

The globe-spanning event, which was dubbed the “Live Aid for Homelessness” by organisers when it was revealed earlier this year, featured sleep outs in Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens as well as in Newport, Manchester, Cardiff, Belfast and Dublin.

While Helen Mirren headlined the London event, reading the bedtime story, Will Smith did the same in New York’s Time Square and there were performances, speeches and poems from Jake Bugg, Frank Turner, The Script, Charlotte Church and Meghan Trainor all over the globe.

Social Bite, founded by Josh Littlejohn MBE, are the driving force behind the event, having held two mass sleep-outs in Scotland in the last two years.

Scaling up the event across the world sees them aiming to help one million homeless and displaced people across the world, benefitting international partners UNICEF USA, Malala Fund and the Institute of Global Homelessness as well as local partners like The Big Issue Foundation.

The World’s Big Sleep Out founder Littlejohn said “I am truly blown away by the response to our campaign and sincerely grateful to every single person who has given up their beds tonight to raise the funds and awareness needed to make an impact.

“I hope that what happened in this campaign demonstrates a clear mandate for political action to tackle the homelessness crisis to whoever ends up in government in a few days’ time.”

Images: Social Bite/Marcus Jamieson-Pond

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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