SERVING soldiers and veterans slept on the streets of Chester over the weekend as part of a nationwide event to raise awareness and money for the veterans charity, Launchpad.
Following a successful ‘Rough Sleep’ last year in Newcastle, which raised over £4,000, this year’s event went national with sleep-outs organised in eight towns and cities across the country.
The 24-hour rough sleeps were all synchronised starting at 10am on Saturday February 3.
The appeal was set up through the military Facebook page, ‘Fill your boots UK’.
Andrew Curran, a serving member of the armed forces who helped organise the Chester event, said: “We want to do our part and give something back, because obviously there’s a lot of people who do fall on hard times, not just ex-military.
“It can happen happen and there is help available.
“Our main aim is to raise awareness for Launchpad. The charity does an amazing job.”
Launchpad helps veterans recover from homelessness, poverty, unemployment, welfare issues and family disruption.
Chester MP Chris Matheson gave his support to the appeal and warned that the issue of homelessness has reached crisis point.
Mr Matheson said: “This was an excellent initiative by current and ex-servicemen to highlight this growing problem. Homelessness and rough sleeping has doubled since 2010.
“Despite excellent work by Chester West and Cheshire Council, Share, Chester Aid to the Homeless and local churches, more still needs to be done.
“We are facing a national crisis.”
It is estimated that there are around 13,000 veterans in the UK with no place to live.
To help veterans in need donations can be made at www.veteranslaunchpad.org.uk/appeal/we-need-a-launchpad-in-every-city-said-hrh-prince-harry