More than £50,000 has been raised for the Wycombe Homeless Connection after over 340 people took part in this year’s Big Sleep Out.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s annual event saw people from all over the town and beyond sleep in a place where they wouldn’t usually rest, to replicate the struggles of homelessness.

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Last year, the event took place at Adams Park, Wycombe Wanderers’ stadium.

Heather Stanley, WHC’s fundraising and marketing manager said: “We have been humbled by how many people took part in this year’s Sleepout, especially considering the challenges we are all facing at the moment.

“We knew it was likely that a lockdown and tight Covid-restrictions would make it difficult to Sleepout put at venues and in groups, and so we came up with the Sleepout ‘at home’ idea.

“Sleep-outers picked a range of uncomfortable, awkward and hard places to bed down on what turned out to be a much wetter night than we expected.

“Some slept in cardboard shelters built in their in gardens under the sky, in greenhouses and on patios.

“We’ve been especially moved by how many children took part, donating their pocket money as well as asking friends, families to sponsor them.

“Everyone taking part knows one uncomfortable night can be a real challenge but isn’t what life is really like when you have no home.

“It has been an incredibly tough year for people who don’t have a home in our community.

“The pandemic has put the lives of people who sleep rough at even greater risk and so we’ve been working with our partners to get people off the street as soon as possible and into safe accommodation.

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“Our homelessness prevention hotline has been ringing off the hook as the coronavirus continues to devastate lives.”

The charity also ran a live-streamed fundraising 'Big Quiz' alongside the sleepout, which raised over £5,000.

Celebrities recorded questions for the quiz including Mary Berry, Tom Kerridge, Alex Horne, and Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth and player Alex Samuel.

Local bluegrass band Papa Truck provided musical entertainment they had recorded for us before lockdown and the whole event was sponsored by Dreams.

Heather added: “The generosity and compassion of people who took part mean that we can keep offering free support and advice to anyone who has lost their home or is worried about losing it.

“We want to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in the Big Sleepout and Quiz.”

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