Campaign raises money for rough sleepers in Northampton

Campaigners in Northampton are working to reduce rough sleepers in the town. Credit: ITV Anglia

Across the East of England the number of rough sleepers has doubled since 2010.

In Northampton alone, the number of rough sleepers doubled between 2017 and 2018 from 13 to 26.

But homeless charities say the actual number is a lot higher. Rough sleepers often hide away to avoid being moved on and those using tents to sleep in are not counted.

On Friday February 1, 270 people arrived at Abington Park in Northampton town to spend the night sleeping outside as part of 'The Big Sleep Out'.

Organised by the homeless charity the Northampton Hope Centre, the event was an opportunity to raise awareness of the realities of sleeping rough.

ITV News Anglia's Graham Stothard took part in the event. Read his tweets of the experience here, including a picture of the Mayor of Northampton using a sleeping box made by pupils at his old school.

Julia Rosser knows the reality of the situation because she spent 12 months sleeping rough in 2009.

"Mentally, you can't explain what it does to somebody mentally. It brings on all sorts of issues, depression and you know, your self worth is non-existent. It just goes."

Julia Rosser, former rough sleeper
The figures for rough sleepers are not all bad across the region. Credit: ITV Anglia

But the figures for rough sleepers are not all bad across the region.

In fact, in Luton and Bedford things have improved between 2017 and 2018, with Luton seeing a decrease of 46% and Bedford a drop of 33%.