Fundraisers brave the cold for charity sleep out

11th March 2019

The yellow weather warning didn’t stop more than 60 eager campers giving up their warm homes over the weekend for a cold, wet and windy night under the stars to help older people stay warm in winter.

The Big Sleep is an annual event organised by Cumbria Community Foundation to raise money for their Winter Warmth Appeal, which supports older people in Cumbria who struggle to pay their heating and fuel bills in the colder months.

With temperatures around 2 degrees and dropping to nearly zero in the night campers enjoyed the friendly atmosphere while Little Sleepers were kept entertained by storyteller Ian Douglas and a family movie. Volunteers from Calderwood House, a homeless hostel in Egremont, kept everyone warm with their speciality coffee, and English Lakes Hotels provided the evening meal and breakfast rolls in the morning.


Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of the charity, said: “We’ve had another fantastic year at the Big Sleep and a huge thank you to everyone who took part or who supported them. Since we launched the event six years ago, it has raised more than £100,000 and this money makes a huge difference enabling us to continue our work, helping older people within our community.

“Extra funding is always great, but awareness is even better, and we want people to understand what fuel poverty is and how it affects people. The money raised will be used to provide grants to some of the poorest, most vulnerable older people in the county. Thank you to everyone who took part or supported the participants.”

Quotes from people around the county – images available on request to go with each quote:

Nicol Moffat and Rosie Edge from Maryport and Cockermouth, Home Group. Nicol said: “We work for Home Group, a local housing association, and we have had a lot of customers who are in fuel poverty and thought it would be a great idea to raise awareness.”

Kendal Event Medics provided first aid cover in-kind as they “wanted to support a great cause.”

Workington Fire Cadets, Keegan Milligan and Liam Sharples from Workington. They said: “We are raising money for people who are struggling to heat their homes in the winter, this is a great cause and we hope to raise £100 each, it will be great fun but very, very cold.”

Beth Nicholls from PPM Ltd. Beth said: “I work for PPM Ltd, in housing and property maintenance and we come across people living in fuel poverty – having to choose between “eat or heat”. This is a great opportunity to fundraise with our partners at Home Group. The cold weather really drives home the reality of how cold conditions can affect people in the winter months.”

Eve and Bethan Handy from South Lakes said: “It’s a great cause and a fun night.”

Laura Davies from Kendal: “I wanted to do something different to challenge myself. Camping right by the lake while raising money for Cumbrian people is a great idea.”

Andrew and Seth Eze (Team Brewin Dolphin) from Lancashire. Andrew said: “We are doing the Big Sleep to raise money for a brilliant cause (Winter Warmth Appeal) and to have an adventure with my son. My colleagues have done it in the past and we are looking forward to a great night of fundraising.”

Mark Barrow, Jenna Nixon, Sarah Wright from H&H Group, Carlisle and Kendal. Mark said: “The Big Sleep is something different and a great opportunity to camp by Windermere. We want to raise money for people who are experiencing fuel poverty and this is a realistic experience of how cold it can be for some people in the winter.”

Thomas Hood, Cheryl Hood, Lucy Benson, Laura Horrocks, Anita Benson, Georgina Smith and Marion Little from Napthens Solicitors in Kendal. Lucy said: “The Big Sleep is a great event to raise money for elderly people in Cumbria who are experiencing fuel poverty. We are in for a cold night and we hope to raise lots of money for a fantastic cause.”

Councillor Brian Hewitt, Vice Chairman of Lakes Parish Council, Ambleside said: “It’s my first time doing the Big Sleep for the Winter Warmth Appeal. Our county is very generous with food banks so this is a wonderful and different way to support Cumbrian people and help them to keep warm in the winter months. I personally would rather be hungry than cold, I hope to raise awareness and extra funds for this great cause.”

Team Dodd and Co, Jamie Dobson, Neil Boothman and Ian Topham from Penrith. Jamie said: “It’s my fifth time at The Big Sleep. We are supporting Cumbria Community Foundation in raising money for the Winter Warm Appeal which helps people in Cumbria in fuel poverty which is a big issue and the government fuel allowance doesn’t go far enough and this is a great way to help those that need it.”

Hayden Holliday – Little Sleeper from Maryport said: “I am really looking forward to camping out tonight. It’s very cold, but we are going to brave it for this very good cause. I have raised £100 so far.”

Simon Berry, High Sheriff of Cumbria. Simon, who is Chairman and Managing Director of English Lakes Hotels Resorts and Venues said: “I’m sleeping out for one night to raise money for people who can be cold every night, it just has to be done. It’s a privilege to be here and to support a great cause.”

Paul Lewis, Chief Finance Officer of Lakeland Limited. Paul said: “The Big sleep is a really good event to raise money for the Winter Warmth Appeal that supports local people. Cumbria Community Foundation is a great concept, it’s fantastic and I want to help support local people having just moved to the area.”

Sam Spencer – the Littlest Sleeper from Cockermouth, Mum, Joanne said: “Sam is very excited to be camping out under the stars. It’s a great atmosphere and we are enjoying our family adventure for a great cause.”

Phoebe Collister from Whitehaven who volunteered at The Big Sleep with her friend from school, Pippa, said: “I am absolutely enjoying helping out at The Big Sleep. Everybody is so friendly and we are having a great time. It’s great to see so many people taking part to raise money for the Winter Warmth Appeal. ”

You can still donate towards the Winter Warmth Appeal.

Visit or phone 01900 825760.

Or you can send a cheque to: ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ and write ‘Winter Warmth’ on the back. Send it to: Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN

If you or someone you know is in need of support from the Winter Warmth Appeal, please contact your local Age UK.

More images to follow soon. THE BIG SLEEP GALLERY