Living with COVID-19

The Big Sleep 2023


Students and staff are invited to volunteer for The Big Sleep to raise vital funds on behalf of The Bridge Homelessness to Hope charity.

Can you imagine what it would be like to have to sleep on the streets, without the comfort and security of a roof over your head? Sadly, this is the harsh reality for some of the most disadvantaged people in our community. 

The University of Leicester is joining forces with a Leicester-based charity 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 of the struggles of being homeless. This annual fundraising event gives those who get involved an insight in to how difficult it is to sleep on the streets and to better understand what those experiencing homelessness face on a daily basis. 

Taking place on Tuesday 28 March in Centenary Square, ‘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.  

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.  

Participants and supporters of ‘The Big Sleep’ get sponsored to brave a night outdoors with cardboard, a sleeping bag and the clothes on their back. Get together with your peers, housemates, colleagues or participate in this activity with members of a university club or society to make a huge impact.   

‘The Big Sleep’ will take place on Tuesday 28 March 2023 from 8.00pm - 8.00am at the University of Leicester in Centenary Square. Hot drinks and breakfast will be provided to volunteers as a gesture of gratitude. In the event of bad weather, the event will be moved indoors to the Charles Wilson Building Sports Hall. 

The first step to get involved is to register to participate. Once you’ve registered, you will be sent further information.  

Make your donation  

All funds raised through the sponsorship for the event will 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. You can set up your own fundraising page through the Bridge Homelessness to Hope website.

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

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

If you have any questions about The Big Sleep, please get email

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