Living in the community

The Big Sleep 2024

Volunteers sitting in Centenary Square, participating in the Big Sleep 2023Volunteer

Students and staff are invited to sleep out for the night to support the Big Sleep fundraising event, to help raise vital funds for local charity The Bridge Homelessness to Hope.

The University of Leicester, together with Leicester Student’s Union and De Montfort University are once again joining forces with Leicester charity The Bridge, to raise awareness of homelessness and are looking for volunteers who are willing to give up their bed for a night to gain a small insight into the struggles of being homeless. This fundraising event, which has been running since 2018 (with the exception of 2020 and 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic) has raised over £50,000 for The Bridge charity.

Will you help us to raise even more money this year?

The Big Sleep will take place on Tuesday 19 March 2024 from 8.00pm - 8.00am at the University of Leicester, on Centenary Square. Complimentary hot drinks and a light breakfast will be provided to volunteers as a thank you. If you’re unable to join us at on campus, you can still participate by spending the night somewhere other than your bed, such as your back garden - you could involve family and friends if you wish! All we ask is that you register for the event and raise a minimum of £5.

The Bridge Homelessness to Hope charity is an outreach to the lost and lonely of Leicester; from the homeless who spend their time on the streets, to those who suddenly find themselves with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. The Bridge runs various projects, from mentoring people, providing warm clothes and hot food to giving advice to those who need it most; all of their services are vital to helping the homeless and vulnerably housed community in our local area.  

‘The Big Sleep’ is not intended to replicate the everyday harsh struggles of being homeless but to raise awareness, funds and provide a small insight into the challenges faced by many vulnerable, homeless people.

Register to participate

The first step to get involved is to register to participate. The next step will involve setting up a fundraising page and donating £5 to The Bridge Homelessness to Hope, to confirm your participation. The £5 donation will need to be made directly to The Bridge Homelessness to Hope and will count towards your fundraising total. If you would just like to make a donation but not participate in the sleep out, you can also do this directly through The Bridge.

Once you’ve registered, you will be sent further information.

All funds raised through your sponsorship for the event should be donated directly to The Bridge Homelessness to Hope to help the city’s homeless community. Donations can be made online by anyone, whether you are sleeping out or offering your support.

Local businesses willing to join The Big Sleep should contact David Fawcett at The Bridge Homelessness to Hope on 07534 059658 or email

If you have any questions about the Big Sleep, please get in touch via

Winter is a difficult time for a lot of people, but for the homeless community, dealing with cold and inclement weather takes on a whole new perspective. The Big Sleep gives people a glimpse of the struggles the homeless have on a daily basis. We hope people will join us at this amazing event, supporting the charity and the vulnerable people who use our services at this critical time. Last year the monies raised went towards continuing our work with the homeless and vulnerably housed. Through our day centre, (which is getting busier and busier, as the cost-of-living increases impact on people), we offer a place to come and get a hot meal, a shower, change of clothes and most importantly a safe space away from it all. We have three amazing case workers who can work alongside these vulnerable people and support them with various aspects of their life, including housing, benefits and reconnecting with family. This all would not be possible without the money raised at events like The Big Sleep.

David Fawcett, Executive Operations Manager at The Bridge Homelessness to Hope

We've been supporting the Bridge for several years through the Big Sleep Fundraiser and we'd like to make this year's event bigger and better to help raise vital funds. Last year 25 students and staff took part and raised £13,000 so we're calling on students and staff to get involved to help us raise even more money this year.

Vanessa Harris, Volunteering Project Manager

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