A Darwen shoe designer says homelessness in East Lancashire is “unacceptable” after his Adidas SPZL exhibition raised 'substantial' funds for a Blackburn charity.

The recent Adidas SPZL exhibition in Darwen, which celebrated 10 years of the Adidas SPZL range, has now come to an end and a “substantial amount” of money has been raised for Blackburn homelessness charity, Nightsafe.

Gary Aspden, who created the SPZL concept for Adidas back in 2014, has supported the charity for many years.

He said he has “huge respect” for the charity workers and said: “I support Nightsafe as I am not prepared to normalise the fact that lots of young people are finding themselves homeless on the streets of East Lancashire in 2024.

“I personally find this completely unacceptable and [believe] it has become progressively worse over the past decade or so.

"I have huge respect for the good people at Nightsafe for doing their best on very limited resources to take action against this."

Gary is urging the people of East Lancashire to continue to support Nightsafe.

He said: "The recent DECADE Exhibition has raised a substantial amount but the charity still has a long way to go in order to meet their deficit budget forecast for this year.

“This event brought people from around the world and all over the UK to Darwen and while it was an impactful project that raised money and profile for Nightsafe we must avoid complacency here.

“The community of East Lancashire, who are in a position to be able to help, must try and come together to support Nightsafe, as they desperately need funds in order to continue offering much-needed support to homeless young people." 

Jan Larkin, chief executive of Nightsafe, said the money raised from the exhibition will help fund the £280,000 deficit the charity is facing this year.

He said: “We will forever be eternally grateful for Gary and the adidas team.

"The support they have shown has helped raise the profile of our charity and much-needed cash – but we desperately need to raise more money to support our ongoing work.

“All the services we offer – from clean clothes to a roof over someone’s head for the night - costs money, and costs continue to increase.

"We face a deficit of over £280,000 this year – and to raise that we need the support of people like you. Please help us to help these young people when they need it most.”

The free exhibition ‘DECADE – 10 years of Adidas SPZL’ ran for 10 days in May, in Market Street, Darwen. 

Shaun Ryder, known as a vocalist for Happy Mondays, and his band Black Grape performed at Level One nightclub in Market Street on May 17.

There was also a DJ set, featuring Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield from The Stone Roses and Primal Scream.

One half of The Pet Shop Boys, Chris Lowe, also visited the exhibition.