The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and The Pret Foundation to Host The Lady Mayoress’s Sleep Out
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and Pret A Manger’s charity, The Pret Foundation, whose focus is to help alleviate hunger, poverty and homelessness, will join forces with Lady Mayoress Felicity Lyons and Lord Mayor Alderman Nicholas Lyons this March for the second annual Lady Mayoress’s Sleep Out. Taking place at Guildhall Yard overnight on Thursday 16 March 2023, the charity fundraising event asks participants to ditch their deliciously warm beds for the night to raise awareness and funds for thousands of Londoners sleeping rough every night.
Aiming to highlight the rising number of homeless people in the City and to raise vital funds for The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and The Pret Foundation, The Lady Mayoress’s Sleep Out 2023 will give participants an opportunity to see what it is like for thousands sleeping on the Capital’s streets every night. A cause close to her heart, The Lady Mayoress Felicity Lyons is asking people from the City and beyond to come along and help her raise awareness of this pressing issue.
The Lady Mayoress Felicity Lyons says; “Homelessness is a cause very close to my heart, which is why I am planning to swap my warm bed in Mansion House for a sleeping bag to raise awareness of what it’s like for a growing number of Londoners sleeping rough in the City and beyond. Together with The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and The Pret Foundation, we hope to encourage people to embrace a night under the stars and raise much-needed funds for those without a safe home to go to.”
Taking part in The Lady Mayoress’s Sleep Out comes with a registration fee of just £25, with a minimum sponsorship target of £500 excluding Gift Aid. Participants will need to bring their own sleeping bags, cardboard, waterproof and warm clothing, evening snacks, water bottles and anything else they need for an overnight stay at Guildhall Yard. Hot drinks and breakfast rolls from Pret will be provided for all sleepers on the morning of Friday 17 March.
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 Pret Foundation aims to help tackle hunger, poverty and homelessness in communities local to Pret shops around the world. The Pret Foundation donates Pret’s freshly made unsold food at the end of every day to ensure it reaches people who need it most. It also offers financial support to grassroots charities and helps to break the cycle of homelessness by providing training and employment opportunities at Pret through their Rising Stars programme.
One of The Pret Foundation’s Rising Stars is taking part in the Sleep Out challenge and hopes that it will help raise awareness of the issue of homelessness. He joined Pret last year after finding himself sleeping rough in London…
He says, “I was working as a journalist and was under a lot of pressure through work. At the same time, my father died, my income stopped, my bank account was overdrawn, I had nowhere to stay and ended up sleeping at Saint Pancras train station. I knew Pret was based near Victoria, so went into one of the shops, asked for directions and two staff members who later became colleagues very kindly took me to the office and I asked to join the Rising Stars programme.”
Speaking about the Sleep Out he says, “The feeling you have before a charity “Sleep Out” is very similar to the feeling of actually being homeless. As the night gets closer, you have a sense of dread and regret but it’s a good challenge to face and in the morning, you’ll feel a sense of achievement – having done something selfless for the greater good (especially if there’s a Pret breakfast roll nearby!)”
Pano Christou, CEO of Pret A Manger and trustee of The Pret Foundation says: “Through The Pret Foundation we have been able to help those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing homelessness with employment opportunities at Pret with our Rising Stars Programme and have long donated our freshly made unsold food to those most in need at the end of every day. Joining The Lady Mayoress to Sleep Out is an opportunity for us to raise awareness together of the issue that too many people face and these funds raised will continue to help our work in tackling homelessness in the UK. Every little bit helps.”
To sign up to The Lady Mayoress’s Sleep Out visit https://www.thelordmayorsappeal.org/events