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Hutt City takes lead on massive global charity campaign

On Saturday 7th December, the world will unite to help fight Homelessness & Displacement with what is thought to be the largest charitable fundraising campaign in a generation. With an aim of raising $50,000,000, The World’s Big Sleep Out, spearheaded by Josh Littlejohn MBE, founder of social enterprise Social Bite, will take place in up to 50 locations around the world.

Research by the Institute of Global Homelessness shows that figures have reached a new level with more than a 100 million people homeless and displaced around the world.

Today, October 10, is World Homeless Day and this is when DestinationHutt, a New Zealand Charitable Trust, supported by Hutt City Council has chosen to announce our participation in this global call to action.

Featuring cities and towns like London (Trafalgar Square and The Oval), New York (Times Square), Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Chicago, Cardiff, Newcastle, Newport, Brighton, Manchester, Los Angeles, New Delhi, Vina Del Mar, Madrid, Rijeka, Kharkiv, Brisbane, Manila, Cebu, Amsterdam, Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Chennai, Coimbatore, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Philadelphia, San Jose (Costa Rica), Malibu, Singapore….. And now Hutt City, New Zealand, with our international dateline giving us a jump start.

Each of the city locations are confirmed along with a host of celebrities, musicians, Olympians, acting royalty, top broadcasters and influential politicians who will take part in sleep out events on the night. They are part of an overall target number of 50,000 people, creating the world’s largest display of solidarity to those experiencing Homelessness and Displacement.

Will Smith and Dame Helen Mirren will lead the way by telling a bedtime story in Times Square (New York) and Trafalgar Square (London) respectively. Also participating is six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy and joining them on Saturday 7th December will be our own Sir Richard Taylor - WETA as part of the international line up. And others will be announced as we head toward the day itself.

Josh Littlejohn MBE, WBSO Founder, said: “I am blown away by the response to The World’s Big Sleep Out so far and incredibly excited to have 50 cities all over the world taking part. It doesn’t matter if you are taking part in Times Square or in your back garden with your family, by sleeping out for one night on 7th December we can simultaneously express our compassion for homeless people who have no other choice and raise lifesaving funds to make a difference. We can also send a message to the world’s political leaders that urgent action is required to address the human suffering that we each witness on our streets every day”.

Dame Helen Mirren said: "Homelessness on our streets is a real problem in the UK and for many nations throughout the world. This coupled with an unprecedented number of refugees being displaced internationally makes this a really important time to focus attention on the issue of global homelessness. The World's Big Sleep Out campaign will play an important role in shining the political spotlight on the issues of homelessness and displacement whilst raising considerable funds to make a big difference.
I am pleased to have this opportunity to make a contribution by performing a bedtime story for participants in London, which will also be screened at sleep out events happening throughout the world. I'd like to encourage anyone who cares about this issue to get involved by sleeping out, in solidarity with those who have no choice, on 7th December”.

Chair of DestinationHutt Phil Sprey has been working with the support of new Hutt City Council CEO Jo Miller and her team to rapidly make this a uniquely Kiwi event, focusing on the support, our community has towards ending Homelessness in our city and nationwide.

Sprey says, “We are not only producing the Worlds Big Sleep Out event locally but have developed a domestic template for other cities, clubs, community organisations and businesses as well as families and individuals to host their own event wherever they are throughout the country. These resources are online at www.worldsbigsleepout.org.nz “.

In New Zealand people are urged to register for an official event which will be held at McEwan Park Petone, Lower Hutt on December 7. Or they can “Host Your Own” sleep out in their backyard, office car park, high school or university campus etc by visiting www.worldsbigsleepout.org.nz

Registration is now open with each participant committing to fundraising as much as they can.

100% of funds raised will go towards homelessness charity in New Zealand we have chosen OrangeSky (NZ) which works face-to-face with the most vulnerable each day. They receive the bulk of what will be raised with an extra contribution we will make to the international recipients: UNICEF, the Malala Fund and the Institute of Global Homelessness.

While the Sleep Out part of December 7 in McEwan Park is for 18+, we have taken the opportunity to engage with our families and younger people by holding a FREE Christmas Concert aptly named ‘SANTA at SUNSET’ with a range of artists, bands, choirs and entertainers plus the Jolly Guy as well.

After 9pm the scene will change with another eclectic presentation of music, the celebrity ‘Bedtime Storytellers, buskers and headliners entertaining those who will later sleep under the stars.

Admission to the later Sleep Out main event is simple: Register online via our website, which will take those wishing to be part of the night to our trusted Givealittle page, where they can donate a minimum of $30 which goes to the local charities. The printed/numbered receipt becomes the ticket on the day when exchanged for an WBSONZ wristband giving entry to the Worlds Big Sleep Out.

People who are hosting their own Sleep Outs elsewhere or who can’t attend our Petone event can still donate, fund-raise and do so at the same Givealittle Page via our main Website. www.worldsbigsleepout.org.nz All donation go to the charities we are supporting in New Zealand.

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