Leigh Hughes, CSR Director, Bouygues Construction UK

Across the UK homelessness is on the rise.

The last official UK wide estimate* suggested that there were at least 320,000 people classed as homeless.  That’s 320,000 without a safe place to call home.

The Worlds Big Sleep Out is a onetime only Worldwide campaign to raise much needed funds for those experiencing homelessness. 52 cities across the world will see 50,000 people sleep out for 1 night on the 7th December in the hope of raising £50,000,000. Business leaders, ‘A’ list celebrities and members of the public will stand together to tackle this epidemic.

On hearing about the Worlds Big Sleep Out we jumped at the chance to support the campaign as a sponsor for both the Cardiff & London events.

Understanding the reasons behind why someone ends up homeless is complex.  A family breakdown, an abusive relationship, the loss of a job, there is no one size fits all.

Having supported the work of Llamau in Wales over the past few years, Bouygues UK know the impact their services have on some of the most vulnerable in our society. Whilst they provide supported housing, their main focus is prevention rather than cure.

Llamau understand the complexities that result in homelessness and offer targeted services including mental health support and education.

Through our social value agenda Bouygues UK have met and worked alongside some truly inspiring people who have struggled with the challenges that homeless people and the hidden homeless experience. Not having an address was a barrier to getting the right support, and as a construction company we know how important foundations are in ensuring long term stability & resilience.

But this takes Money. The cost of supported housing for 1 person for a year is £32,865.  Last year Llamau provided supported accommodation for 551 young people, women & Children. Their Learning for Life programme engaged 185 young people at a cost of £544,321.

The cost of housing homeless families in emergency accommodation has risen by 78% in the past 5 years and costs the economy in excess of 1 Billion pounds a year.

This cannot continue. Charities like Llamau need our help to prevent the need for emergency accommodation in the first place.

As the great Desmond Tutu once said: “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.”

So, I urge you to join me, business leaders, politicians and members of the public at Cardiff Castle on the 7th December and be part of the largest demonstration of solidarity since live aid.

Time is running out to register. Sign up now at https://www.bigsleepout.com/join-a-sleep-out/cardiff

*[from Shelter in December of 2018]