Will Smith, Dame Helen Mirren and Chris Martin star in new video urging people to take part in The World’s Big Sleep Out
Citizens in 50 locations worldwide will sleep out in unity to help fight homelessness on 7th December 2019
Will Smith, Dame Helen Mirren and Chris Martin show their support for The World’s Big Sleep Out by starring in a new video urging people to sign up and take part.
In the video, Will Smith reflects on what home means to him saying that it is “the place where my family comes together” before drawing attention to the issue of 100 million people around the world who don’t have a place to call home.
The number of homeless people dying on the streets is at record levels with on average two people dying each week in the UK. In England alone the number of people sleeping rough has increased by more than 150% since 2010. Last year, an estimated 4,677 people were sleeping on the streets on any one night and, shockingly, there are 125,000 children in England without a place to call home.
The amount of people seen sleeping rough in London across a minimum of two consecutive years has more than doubled since 2008/9, increasing by 131% to 2,080. Of those people, most have been in care, prison or armed forces. Action is urgently needed.
On Saturday 7th December, the world will unite to help fight homelessness in what is thought to be the largest charitable fundraising campaign in a generation. With the aim of raising $50million (£40million), The World’s Big Sleep Out, spearheaded by Josh Littlejohn MBE, founder of social enterprise Social Bite, will take place in 50 locations around the world.
Will Smith and Dame Helen Mirren will lead the way by telling a bedtime story in Times Square (New York) and Trafalgar Square (London) respectively.
Cities and towns confirmed to be taking part include: London (Trafalgar Square and The Oval), New York (Times Square), Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Chicago, Cardiff, Newcastle, Newport, Brighton, Manchester, Los Angeles, New Delhi, Santiago, Madrid, Brisbane, Manila, Wacken, Mumbai, Hong Kong, San Jose (Costa Rica), and Singapore
People are urged to register for an official event or sign up to “Host Your Own” sleep out in a backyard, office car park, high school, university campus or elsewhere by visiting www.bigsleepout.com.
Registration is now open with each participant committing to fundraising as much as they can. 100% of funds raised will go towards homelessness charities, with a 50/50 split between local and global charities helping homeless and displaced people.
It is hoped that an estimated 50,000 participants will collectively achieve a fundraising target of $50million (£40million) which will be invested to sustainably help around 1,000,000 homeless and displaced people all over the world. As well as benefiting local charities, international partners for the campaign include UNICEF USA, Malala Fund and the Institute of Global Homelessness.
Social Bite started as a sandwich shop on Rose Street in Edinburgh in August 2012 and has now grown to a major driving force in tackling homelessness in Scotland.
One quarter of Social Bite’s staff are homeless and the charity has received visits from Hollywood superstars Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney.
Social Bite’s 2017 and 2018 Sleep in Park events in Scotland raised almost £8million and saw more than 18,000 people sleeping out. Video from the events can be seen at www.vimeo.com/246949595
Social Bite is the largest distributor of free fresh food to the homeless in the UK, giving out more than 100,000 items of food and hot drinks per year.
With funds raised from Sleep in the Park events, The Social Bite Village was built in May 2018 with 20 people now housed in the bespoke accommodation. The charity also launched a nationwide program to bring 830 rough sleepers of the streets into their own accommodation with support.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF USA supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, it is working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes, and every child has a safe and healthy childhood.
The Institute of Global Homelessness
The Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH) supports an emerging global movement to end street homelessness. Based in Chicago at DePaul University, IGH partners with key global cities to develop local leaders, set metrics, scale successes, and drive advocacy – all to accelerate progress in reducing and ending homelessness. IGH envisions a world where everyone has a place to call home – a home that offers security, safety, autonomy, and opportunity. Learn more about IGH’s work at www.ighomelessness.org.
Malala Fund is working for a world where all girls can learn and lead. Malala Fund advocates for resources and policy changes needed to give all girls a secondary education, invests in local education leaders and amplifies the voices of girls fighting for change. Learn more at malala.org.