MORE than 100 people slept outside on a cold December night to raise awareness of homelessness.

Men, women and children from across Blackburn braved the cold as they took part in a mass sleep-out to highlight the work Nightsafe, a homeless charity based in the town, has been doing for 27 years.

With temperatures around one degrees, the rough sleepers took rest near the clock tower in King William Street in nothing but the clothes they were standing in, cardboard boxes and ‘survival bags’.

Chairman of the Friends of Roe Lee Park Jason Walker, along with his daughter Maddison, slept inside a box, designed by the Cardboard Box Company.

Mr Walker said: “Around 2am the temperature dropped and you could feel the nip on your face.

“I barely slept, it was very unpleasant.

“It made us realise homeless people do this every night, we found out a lot of homeless people sleep during the day while its warmer and they feel safe and roam the streets at night.

“The current system is failing homeless people, something needs to change.”

For all those who took part a hot breakfast was be served at Nightsafe’s day centre Platform 5 the following morning.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive member for regeneration, visited the volunteers and supported them on the night.

He said: “It’s down to the efforts of charities like Nightsafe and others in the borough that we can help ensure we are always going to have good support for people who really need it.

“The fact that 116 local people are prepared to put up with a very cold night sleeping on the streets shows the collective sense of compassion in the borough for the less fortunate members of our local community and is a great example of why Blackburn with Darwen is such a great place to live."

A spokesman for the charity thanked all those who took part.