MORE than £30,000 has been raised at the annual Big Worcester Sleep Out.

Some 117 people turned out to sleep at Worcester Six Ways Stadium in sleeping bags and wrapped up warm against the cold last week to raise money for three local charities.

The event, last Thursday included a BBQ donated by AC Events catering and a friendly touch rugby game between Warriors Homeless Rugby Team and a team assembled by former player Nick Baxter. Breakfast was provided by the Rapid Relief Team.

At 11pm the stadium went into lockdown, with the doors remaining closed until 6am the following morning.

Felicity James, skills development and community engagement manager at St Paul’s Hostel, said: “The Big Worcester Sleep Out was organised by St Paul’s Hostel, the Warriors Community Foundation and Maggs Day Centre to raise money for the three charities and awareness of homelessness in Worcestershire.

“117 people spent the night sleeping out at the Worcester Warriors Stadium and so far have raised £34,000.

“We have been amazed at the support we’ve had for the event.

“We are really grateful to everyone that took part, it was horrible weather but spirits remained high and it’s because of them that this fantastic amount of money has been raised.

“We are already making plans for next year and will share those details in the next couple of weeks.”

Taking part in the Big Sleep Out was city councillor Lynn Denham, who said: “It was definitely an interesting experience sleeping out in the cold.

“We were in the south stand at the rugby club so we were sheltered a bit from the cold but sleeping in the cold and on a hard surface really makes you appreciate having a warm bed to go home to.

“What it did was really open my eyes into the practicalities involved with sleeping rough such as wrapping up in so many layers and simple things like brushing your teeth or going to the toilet.

“There was a wonderful camaraderie between everyone involved and it was a really sociable evening, but that is not the case for so many homeless people who are alone and abandoned.”

At this stage,more than £34,000 has been raised to support the homeless in Worcester, with St Paul’s Hostel hoping for more donations to take them closer to £40,000.