22 March Jodie Hill, Founder & Managing Partner of Thrive Law to chair our This is Me 2023 event!
Over 100 people gather for the second annual Lady Mayoress’s Sleep Out
Guildhall Yard welcomed 115 brave souls on Thursday for the second annual Lady Mayoress’s Sleep Out, rolling out their sleeping bags and sleeping overnight to help increase awareness for homelessness in the City. Joined by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress who also braved the heavy rain, the event raised funds for The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and Pret A Manger’s charity - The Pret Foundation.
Kicking off at 9pm with a welcome hot drink, participants collected their cardboard and nabbed the best sleeping spots in the City's Guildhall Yard. To keep spirits up as the cold set in, the crowd heard live speeches from the the Lady Mayoress Felicity Lyons, Lord Mayor Alderman Nicholas Lyons and CEO of Pret A Manger and trustee of The Pret Foundation, Pano Christou.
"London had the biggest rise of rough sleepers in 2022, with over 850 people sleeping rough on any given night last year"
The Lady Mayoress Felicity Lyons thanked everyone for their fundraising efforts and for giving up their warm beds for the evening to experience what is a ‘reality for many Londoners’. She also reminded people that ‘London had the biggest rise of rough sleepers in 2022, with over 850 people sleeping rough on any given night last year’. Noting that International Women’s Day took place last week, she also pointed out that ‘experiences of violence and abuse are near universal for women sleeping rough – the average age of death for a woman experiencing homelessness is just 43.’
"The average age of death for a woman experiencing homelessness is just 43"
After a challenging night with plenty of comradery and high spirits, guests were greeted to the welcome sight of warm bacon rolls, porridge, hot tea and coffee and fresh pastries from Pret on Queen Victoria Street the next morning – donated by Pret A Manger who will receive 50% of the proceeds towards their charity – The Pret Foundation. Aiming to help tackle hunger, poverty and homelessness in communities local to Pret shops around the world, the charity donates Pret’s unsold freshly made food at the end of every day to people who need it most, while also offering financial support to grassroots charities. Central to The Pret Foundation’s work to help break the cycle of homelessness is its Rising Stars programme, which provides employment opportunities at Pret alongside training and financial support.
Speaking after the Lord and Lady Mayoress, Pano Christou, CEO of Pret A Manger and trustee of The Pret Foundation, added that he had personally taken on a many fundraising challenges to raise awareness and funds for the issue of homelessness. He thanked all the participants from ‘the Pret family for their fundraising efforts’. He finished by saying ‘every little bit helps and goes a long way so please after tonight remind those who haven’t donated that there is still time!’.
"Every little bit helps and goes a long way..."
Net profits from the event are being split 50:50 between The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and The Pret Foundation. The proceeds donated to The Lord Mayor’s Appeal will be put to use across its beneficiary charities and its four initiatives to help make A Better City For All that is inclusive, healthy, skilled and fair. According to Crisis UK, 45% of people experiencing homelessness have been diagnosed with a mental health issue which rises to 8 out of 10 people who are sleeping rough. The Lord Mayor’s Appeal will focus on those that tackle mental health issues such as partner charity MQ Mental Health Research, the UK’s leading mental health research charity and initiatives like This is Me, helping to end stigma around mental health in the workplace.
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal would like to thank everyone who part in the event or supported the event by making a donation.
Find information on upcoming The Lord Mayor’s Appeal 2023 events here