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Coco's sleep-out for city's homeless

26th October 2018

LEEK United Branch Manager Coco Mercer is spending a night sleeping without a roof over her head next month (November) to help highlight the plight of Derbyshire’s homeless community.

Coco, who manages the Society’s city centre branch in Derby, will join over 40 other fundraisers for a sponsored sleep-out at Derby Cathedral on Friday, 2 November.

The event is aimed at raising awareness and funds for the Padley Group – one of the city’s largest and longest established charities – which runs the Padley Homeless Centre on Becket Street, Derby.

Visitors to the centre are usually homeless, in debt or disadvantaged, and may be vulnerable, isolated and challenged by mental health or substance misuse problems.

The centre provides a place where people can feel safe and secure while they work with support staff to address the issues they are experiencing.

“As a mortgage lender, Leek United helps people to buy homes; the sleep-out is to help people for whom a home of their own – and, sadly, sometimes even a roof over their heads – is very often out of reach,” said Coco.

“Everyone taking part will experience for one night what many homeless people face every single day: sleeping rough outdoors and at a time of year when the weather is getting colder and more inhospitable – so my aim, our aim, is to raise as much money and awareness as we can to support the Padley Group’s amazing work.”

The free to enter sleep-out runs from 7pm on Friday, 2 November through to 7am the following morning. Participants have to provide their own sleeping bags, warm clothing, and cardboard or a roll mat to act as a barrier between themselves and the cold ground.

However, they will have access to toilet facilities, warm drinks and food, and entertainment will be provided throughout the night, to help keep their spirits up.

Kerry Collyer, of the Padley Group, said: “This is my favourite event of the year to plan and take part in. It is a truly emotional night for all who take part as it can be such a big personal challenge. Many of the rough sleepers in the city will join us on the night for safety and will share their experiences with the participants. The entertainment draws passers-by in to join in all of our merriment and becomes a wonderful experience. Padley is so grateful for the support that Leek United and Coco are giving us as we rely heavily on the businesses in Derby to help keep our services running.”

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