Sleep out to raise money and awareness for homeless in Leamington

Preparing to brave the cold 'Helping Hands' Lianne Kirkman, with (left to right) Infinite Pixel's team Mike Hudson, Jonathan Hanford director of Fine & Country, Joe Harvey and Alex Foster.

Preparing to brave the cold 'Helping Hands' Lianne Kirkman, with (left to right) Infinite Pixel's team Mike Hudson, Jonathan Hanford director of Fine & Country, Joe Harvey and Alex Foster.

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Business people and charity workers will be sleeping rough in Leamington tomorrow night (Friday) to raise awareness of homelessness in the town.

About 25 staff from promotional video company Infinite Pixel, estate agents Fine & Country and Leamington charity Helping Hands will be getting into their sleeping bags at the town’s bandstand in the Pump Room Gardens to raise money towards a mobile soup kitchen.

The event is the latest in a series of fundraising activities organised by Infinite Pixel and Fine & Country to raise £3,000 for Helping Hands, which now provides the soup kitchen, which was previously run by the Leamington Christian Mission for 25 years.

Alex Harvey, studio director at Infinite Pixel, which makes promotional video trailers using remote-controlled drones, said as many as 25 people used the soup kitchen and about 20 – including those being relocated because of domestic violence – sleep in the overnight shelter.

“For every £10 people donate the charity can feed five people for a fortnight. Your money can go a long way to helping local people,” he said.

“Our company has grown at a phenomenal rate and we wanted to give something back so we chose to focus on the town’s homeless and support Helping Hands, which does so much to help feed the homeless and furnish homes for them when they get rehoused - paying removal costs, buying essential items and providing starter packs.”

Infinite Pixel has made a series of promotional videos documenting the issue of Leamington’s homeless.

The short films include interviews with people living on the streets and disturbing footage of poor living conditions. Their recent video reporting the ‘sleep out’ has already been seen on Facebook over 17,000 times with almost 400 shares.

Lianne Kirkman, trustee and project co-ordinator for Helping Hands, said a new van would make a huge difference.

She said: “We currently have a van for collecting and distributing household items and furniture but we have to empty it twice a week and refill it with items for the soup kitchens on Tuesdays and Thursdays - sleeping bags, clothing, shoes and food donations.

“Having a separate van would allow us to collect items continually throughout the week without having to empty it.

“Ideally, the new van would have both a kitchen and serving area for food, or even seating for the clients during the colder months. We could also use it for other activities and outings.”

Jonathan Hanford, director of Fine & Country, who will be one of those sleeping rough, said: “We are very privileged in spending our time in some of Leamington’s finest homes.

“That’s why we are trading in our comfortable homes for a night to sleep rough in the bandstand to support local homeless charities.”

Helping hands is also receiving support from two Leamington venues - The Royal Pump Room and Jephson’s.

Both venues are running Christmas schemes in which donations will be made to the charity.

For more information see page 20.

Anyone wishing to donate can click here