Allied Health Professionals in Cumbria are taking part in a ‘Big Sleep’ on 1 February to raise money for older people struggling to stay warm.
People are being encouraged to donate and help the Cumbria Allied Health Professionals’ Big Sleep reach their fundraising goal. They are hoping to raise £1,000 for Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Appeal.
The Big Sleep challenge asks people to sleep outside to raise funds for people who have difficulties heating their homes. This year they will be sleeping overnight in Carlisle railway station’s undercroft.
Tragically, around 300 deaths occur in Cumbria each year due to the effects of cold weather. The Winter Warmth Appeal was launched in 2010 and has literally saved lives. Cumbria Community Foundation distribute donations made to the Appeal to vulnerable older people who struggle to heat their homes, so they can stay warm and healthy during winter.
Janet Folland, organiser of the event and Associate Director of Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) at Cumbria, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As AHPs we often work with people in their homes and communities, helping them to stay in their own homes or return safely from hospital. We know how much of a struggle winter can be for many people who are vulnerable.”
“The Cumbrian weather is infamous, and the effects of cold weather and flooding on our area over the past few years have been devastating. Our region also has the highest level of fuel poverty in the country, with around 13% of households struggling to afford heating. The Winter Warmth Fund has been such an important safety net for the people we have worked with.”
Allied Health Professions (AHPs) are the third largest workforce in the NHS, providing care to assess, treat, diagnose and discharge patients across many sectors. There are 14 Allied Health Professions including Occupational Therapists, Paramedics, Dietitians and Art/Music Therapists.
In previous years the Big Sleep has been held in a cavern at the Honister Slate Mine. Despite fantastic support from the team at the mine, this year the event will have a change of scenery after Carlisle railway station generously agreed to open the underground part of the station.
“The owner and staff at the mine were incredibly supportive, but this year we wanted to explore a new venue. The undercroft of Carlisle station was suggested, and as it’s (apparently) the most haunted station in the country this seemed ideal!” said Janet.
She added, “Being at the station with access to the platforms also enables us to raise awareness of the Winter Warmth Appeal among the general public.”
Andy Beeforth, CEO of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Older Cumbrians should not be dying because they can’t afford to keep themselves warm. Our Winter Warmth Appeal plays a vital part in supporting vulnerable older people and helps to alleviate some of the winter pressures attributed to fuel poverty.”
"We're very grateful for the continued support from the Allied Health Professionals and to everyone camping out at Carlisle train station. One cold, uncomfortable night’s sleep will ensure older people are kept warm and well over the colder months."
Mark Green, Avanti West Coast Station Manager at Carlisle, said: “We’re proud to be supporting the Winter Warmth Appeal by welcoming Cumbria Allied Health Professionals to the station undercroft for The Big Sleep Challenge.”
“It is well-known that the undercroft can be cold and unforgiving, so we’re sure the fundraising efforts will help older people stay warm and healthy for the next few months.”
This event is organised by Allied Health Professionals working in Cumbria regardless of organisation, employer or profession; participants have joined in from healthcare providers, local authorities, universities and the private sector in the past.
Janet added, “It’s an opportunity for us to come together to show how much we care for our community, and raise awareness and much-needed funds for the Winter Warmth Appeal.”
To sponsor the team with a donation to the Winter Warmth Appeal, please go to https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/cumbriaoccupationaltherapy to give whatever you can spare.
To find out more about the Winter Warmth Appeal and how to access the support, please visit https://www.cumbriafoundation.org/winter-warmth-fund/