Fundraisers brave the cold for charity Big Sleep

MORE than one hundred eager fundraisers gave up their warm homes for a cold, wet and windy night under the stars to help older people stay warm in winter.

Braving the cold: Keith Duck (left) ready to brave cold for a good cause.

The Big Sleep is an annual event organised by Cumbria Community Foundation to raise money for their Winter Warmth Appeal, which supports older people in Cumbria who struggle to pay their heating and fuel bills in the colder months.

With temperatures around two degrees, campers kept thoughts from the cold and enjoyed live music from Smith Corona and Little Sleepers were kept entertained by storyteller Ian Douglas and a family movie.

Volunteers from Calderwood House, a homeless hostel in Egremont, kept campers warm with their speciality coffee, and English Lakes Hotels provided the evening meal and breakfast rolls in the morning.

Rachel Holliday, founder of Calderwood House, said: “Cumbria Community Foundation have supported Calderwood House since day one.

“They have had a huge part to play in our success and I’m delighted that this is the second year they have asked us to serve up hot drinks to everyone taking part in this fantastic event.

“The very fact that fuel poverty exists here in Cumbria is absolutely shocking. Without the money raised from the big sleep, many more vulnerable and elderly lives would be put at risk. Calderwood House are proud to be associated with such a great cause.”

The appeal has already distributed £125,000 this winter and helped over 700 older people heat their homes to date.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of the charity, said: “We’ve had another fantastic year at the Big Sleep and a huge thank you to everyone who took part or who supported them. The event usually raises around £15,000 and this money makes a huge difference enabling us to continue our work, helping older people within our community.

“Extra funding is always great but awareness is even better and we want people to understand what fuel poverty is and how it affects people. Thank you to everyone who took part or supported the participants.”

The money raised will be used to provide grants to some of the poorest, most vulnerable older people in the county.

You can still donate towards the Winter Warmth Appeal; visit http://www.cumbriafoundation.org/winter-warmth-fund/give-to-the-winter-warmth-fund or phone 01900 825760.

Or you can send a cheque to: ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ and write ‘Winter Warmth’ on the back. Send it to: Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN

If you or someone you know is in need of support from the Winter Warmth Appeal, please contact your local Age UK.