Big Night Out 2018

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On Friday 23rd March, eight members of the St Margaret’s at Cliffe Parish church community spent a night sleeping outside to highlight the growing issue of homelessness, raising money for three charities  – Porchlight, Catching Lives and the Dover Outreach Centre.

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With the support of Dover District Council, we set up camp to spend the night outdoors down in St Margaret’s Bay, and to say we had our fingers crossed for a better weekend of weather than we had been having, was an understatement - snow was definitely not a welcome thought. But then again, if we were homeless, we wouldn’t have had the choice, so actually, we really were prepared to go whatever the weather, unless someone official said otherwise. Lucky for us, the most we had to contend with was a rain shower and drizzle, and some raucous herring gulls at 5am. We didn’t have to fear late-night revellers looking for a bit of ‘amusement’ at our expense, hostility from passers-by or being used as a toilet because someone thinks that’s all we’re worth.

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We survived the night, and surfaced in the early hours, bleary eyed, a little cold and stiff, and with a full day ahead of us.  We were more than grateful for Terry coming down to the Bay in his campervan to cook us a magnificent breakfast - it just showed how vitally important those places that provide breakfast and somewhere to warm up in the morning are to people who have spent the night outside.  And we only did it one night.  Imaging, 10, 100, a year outside every night.  Shocking that we let this happen.

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Homelessness is a shocking embarrassment for a country such as ours, that causes physical and mental deterioration at an alarming rate. Porchlight, Catching Lives and Dover Outreach Centre all work with vulnerable people to provide immediate assistance in the form of food, showers, clean clothes, etc. as well as connecting them to Social Services and healthcare professionals to help them rebuild their lives.

We are delighted to say that to date we have raised just over £1,300. A huge “thank you” to all our supporters – you are helping so many people.