The Foxton Centre has completed the purchase of a house in Preston exactly one year on from the Big PNE Sleep Out, using the monies raised from the event at Deepdale.
The Foxton Centre received nearly £100,000 from the event at Preston North End's stadium on 15 November 2019.
Money raised was to go towards the charity's Housing First scheme, which renovates run-down properties in the city to provide a safe place for those looking to break the cycle of being on the streets.
More than 300 people slept out at Deepdale during a bitterly cold November night to raise the funds, and this month, the Foxton received the keys to the property in Ashton-on-Ribble.
Renovation on the house, which will utilise funds from the Sleep Out, will convert the building into two flats.
The Sleep Out was organised by the Foxton in partnership with Preston North End Community and Education Trust, Blog Preston and Biffa. The event initially had a £50,000 fundraising target, but that figure was comfortably exceeded, with a total of £91,000 donated, including gift aid.
Chief executive of the Foxton, Jeff Marsh, said: "The completion of the house purchase was a step along the way to ending rough sleeping in the city. People raised money to buy this property as a direct result of seeing people sleeping on the street.
“It is now down to us to complete our plans to turn it into a proper place where people can live long-term. It’s really exciting that the people who slept out with us have given us the chance to complete this fantastic project.”
The Sleep Out was backed by manager Alex Neil and the PNE first team squad, including Louis Moult, who attended the event and addressed the throng of people bedded down in sleeping bags - having also made multiple visits to the Foxton Centre during his time at the club.
Head of Preston North End Community and Education Trust Tom Drake said: “The purchase of this house will provide endless benefits for those who access the Foxton Centre.
“The Sleep Out gave people the chance to understand the conditions which homeless people unfortunately experience every day, uniting them over the common goal of supporting rough sleepers in the city.
“Everyone at Preston North End is delighted that the Foxton’s goal of purchasing a house has been achieved, but we understand that the issue of homelessness remains a pertinent one, and we’ll continue to work alongside the Foxton, Biffa and Blog Preston to combat this issue as much as possible.”
Louis Moult said: “The Big PNE Sleep Out was a great event. It was fantastic to see the community come together for the benefit of homeless people, spending the night on the concourse at Deepdale and raising money for the Foxton Centre to buy this house.
“The Foxton Centre’s work with vulnerable people is a vital service in the community. From my own personal experiences of family members suffering from alcoholism, I can see the value of the work that the Foxton does to support those in need.
“Whether they are working with someone suffering from homelessness, alcoholism or mental health issues, the Foxton staff provide essential support for those who need it most. The house will only help to further enhance the life opportunities of those accessing the Foxton Centre and I am delighted that the purchase has been completed!”
Blog Preston founder Ed Walker, who took part in the Sleep Out alongside the organising team, said: "It's good the Foxton have taken their time to find the right property.
"For everyone who took part in the Sleep Out this is proof your actions and brilliant fundraising can have a positive impact on the city and those who need our help the most."
Waste management company Biffa supported the Sleep Out, providing cardboard to those bedding down and had six representatives take part. Biffa will also support the renovation of the property in Ashton by providing waste management services.
Michael Treadwell, Biffa regional business development Manager, said: “We are delighted to see that the amazing amount of money we raised this time last year has managed to buy a suitable property for the Foxton Centre. We will continue to provide waste management services throughout the development of the property.”