The Revd Neil Griffiths from the Colsterworth Group of churches, is to spend a night sleeping in Colsterworth churchyard to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness and to raise money for the Church Urban Fund (CUF), an organisation which helps those in deepest need.

The CUF help to tackle homelessness around the country through their Together Network. They have an annual ‘Advent Sleepout Challenge’ which raises funds for their night shelters and other programmes which help the homeless.

Neil will be among the many people across England who, during Advent, will join together with friends and family, church groups and others to give up their bed for a night in a school hall, church, scout hut or garden shed. Anywhere is OK as long as it isn’t their own bed.

Neil said: “I have followed the work of the Church Urban Fund for some years but have never been in a position to be able to work with them until now and I hope that people will support me. We are a wealthy country so I think that the fact that we have anyone sleeping on the streets is a national scandal.

“Our churchyard has a bench so I am planning on starting my night on that. If it gets too uncomfortable or it starts to rain then I can move to the church porch which has some stone benches in it. Like many homeless people I will be using cardboard and plastic sheeting to protect myself from the cold and wet ground.

“Prior to being ordained I spent 25 years working with housing organisations helping them to build homes for those who could not afford their own, so my night in the churchyard really is the other side of the coin.”

Neil’s night in the churchyard of St John the Baptist Church, Colsterworth, will take place during December. We will be talking to him again after his sleep out. His JustGiving page can be found at the following link.

More information on the Advent Sleepout Challenge can be found here.