Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Dame Helen Mirren to read bedtime story at homelessness sleep out

Dame Helen Mirren (PA)
Dame Helen Mirren (PA)

Dame Helen Mirren will read a bedtime story in London’s Trafalgar Square as part of a campaign to help fight homelessness.

The actress is one of several celebrities uniting for The World’s Big Sleep Out, which aims to raise 50 million dollars (£40 million) to tackle homelessness.

The event will see 50 sleep outs worldwide, including events in London, New York, Edinburgh, Brighton, Newcastle, Cardiff, Dublin, Newport, Belfast, Chicago, Amsterdam, Manchester, Madrid and New Delhi.

Dame Helen will read a story in London while Hollywood star Will Smith will tell a bedtime story in Times Square, New York.

Will Smith
Will Smith (Ian West/PA)

Other big names taking part include Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, model Lisa Snowdon, Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy, singer Jamelia, author Giovanna Fletcher and presenters Kate Garraway, Cherry Healey, Angela Scanlon and Anita Rani.

Dame Helen said: “Homelessness on our streets is a real problem in the UK and for many nations throughout the world.

“This coupled with an unprecedented number of refugees being displaced internationally makes this a really important time to focus attention on the issue of global homelessness.

“The World’s Big Sleep Out campaign will play an important role in shining the political spotlight on the issues of homelessness and displacement whilst raising considerable funds to make a big difference.

“I am pleased to have this opportunity to make a contribution by performing a bedtime story for participants in London, which will also be screened at sleep out events happening throughout the world.

“I’d like to encourage anyone who cares about this issue to get involved by sleeping out, in solidarity with those who have no choice, on December 7.”

The World’s Big Sleep Out was spearheaded by Josh Littlejohn, who said he was “blown away” by the response so far.

“It doesn’t matter if you are taking part in Times Square or in your back garden with your family, by sleeping out for one night on December 7 we can simultaneously express our compassion for homeless people who have no other choice and raise lifesaving funds to make a difference,” he said.

“We can also send a message to the world’s political leaders that urgent action is required to address the human suffering that we each witness on our streets every day.”

A new charity called The World’s Big Sleep Out Trust has been established to govern the funds raised from the global event, while funds raised in the USA will be managed by Unicef USA with the support of Robin Hood Foundation.

Research by the Institute of Global Homelessness shows that there are more than 100 million people homeless and displaced around the world.

The event takes place on December 7. People are urged to register for an official event or sign up to “Host Your Own” sleep out in their backyard, office car park, high school or university campus by visiting www.bigsleepout.com.

Minister for homelessness Luke Hall said: “We want to end rough sleeping for good and we are supporting councils to help people off the streets and into secure accommodation.

“Real progress has been made. Our Rough Sleeping Initiative has given £76 million to 246 councils and in these areas the numbers of people sleeping rough is around a third lower than predicted if it had not been in place.

“This scheme has already provided an estimated 2,600 more bed spaces and 750 additional specialist support staff this year.

“There is so much more to do. We will ensure that even more progress is made and even more people get the help they need to turn their lives around.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]