Romford’s Brewery Shopping Centre and Hope4Havering charity launches first management team sleepout
- Credit: Archant
Staff from the Brewery shopping centre are hoping to break homelessness stereotypes in Havering by spending a night sleeping outside.
From 9pm in the evening to 6am the following day, staff from the Brewery in Waterloo Road will be sleeping on the third floor of the multi-storey car park at the end of November.
The aim of the event is to raise funds for the Hope4Havering in Atlanta Boulevard, a charity which endeavours to provide shelter for homeless people in the borough.
Kim Merry, founder of the charity, said: "The public see the rough sleepers on the high street but don't see the many riding on the buses, sleeping behind stairwells or hidden in the parks.
"Homeless people are all ages and from all social demographics.
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"It could be a manager who has overseen 200 people alongside a young person who has had a disagreement with their parents."
Key speakers will share their personal experiences of being homeless and how they rebuilt their lives on the day of the event.
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Centre manager Tom Stobbart added: "When we think about homelessness, we envisage people sleeping rough on the streets.
"But this serious issue extends far beyond that.
"It could be a young person forced to live in sheltered accommodation while studying hard for a degree, or a mum forced to flee from her home as a result of domestic abuse.
"We may be a retail complex, but community is a large part of our ethos.
"We believe that by hosting this event, we'll begin to break the stereotype of homelessness and show it can affect everyone.
"Just because you have a bed, it doesn't mean you have a home."
The Brewery is calling on residents to support the event with money and food donations which can be collected at designated points in the centre and through the shopping centre's Justgiving page.
"If a person is carrying a large number of bags and is still in the same position when you have walked past they may be in need," said Kim.
The charity founder advises referring the homeless person to the Salvation Army or to the Public Advice and Service Centre the Liberty Shopping Centre.