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Members of the 50 Backpacks Charity are planning to sleep rough in Wisbech to raise funds for the homeless



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Hardy volunteers with the Wisbech-based 50 Backpacks charity will be swapping the comfort of their beds next weekend (23) to sleep rough on the town's Market Place.

Members of the 50 Backpacks Charity including Sarah Thomas (right) and Spencer Neilly (second from right) are planning to sleep out in aid of the charity's Gub Hub and other work to help the homeless. (6725695)
Members of the 50 Backpacks Charity including Sarah Thomas (right) and Spencer Neilly (second from right) are planning to sleep out in aid of the charity's Gub Hub and other work to help the homeless. (6725695)

The aim is to raise money for the charity which helps the area's homeless people by providing essential equipment including sleeping bags, tents and clothing.

It also operates the Grub Hub from Bygones Café thanks to owners Andy Maul and his partner Vikki Holmes and the money raised will help fund future sessions which provide hot food and drinks to the homeless on a Tuesday evening.

Sarah Thomas, one of the founders of the charity, said: "There will be about six of us sleeping rough on the Market Place, we want to raise awareness of the problem as well as money to help fund the work we are doing.

"We have just launched the Thread Shed which we operate out of a storage container at a location in the town. We don't want to advertise its location too widely for security reasons, both for the goods stored there and for the vulnerable people who use it.

"We are handing out leaflets to those who come along to the Grub Hub with details so they can access items they need. We are desperately in need of men's underwear, which needs to be new. It seems to go like hotcakes and we just don't get much of that donated.

"The sleep out will start from early Saturday evening and finish around sunrise when the market traders start to arrive and want us out of the way. We have a Justgiving page set up for 50 Backpacks now and there is also a new website where people can find out more about what we are doing.

"The Grub Hub has proved hugely popular we regularly have over 30 to 40 people come along and enjoy a hot meal and the chance to socialise. It really seems to help keep their spirits up."

The charity is also looking for either a bus or a container they can convert into emergency accommodation, but they will need some where suitable to locate and are appealing for anyone who could help with that project to get in touch.

On top of all that other volunteers are in training to take part in the GEAR 10k run in King's Lynn in May.

Sarah added: "Everything seems to have really taken off since we launched the 50 Backpacks appeal in the autumn, it really has spiralled."

For further details visit: www.50backpacks.org.uk



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