THE homeless will come together with volunteers to raise money for a vital service in Basildon.

Kind-hearted people are braving the chilly temperatures to sleep on Basildon’s streets to raise cash to help feed the borough’s homeless.

Several people will be trying to keep themselves warm with cardboard, plastic sheets and sleeping bags as they take part in a sponsored sleep-out.

The event aims to raise cash to help feed Basildon’s rough sleepers weekly, throughout the year.

In a touching show of solidarity, some of the borough’s genuine homeless people will be joining those taking part in the event to support them as they undertake the tough challenge.

The event has been organised by the Basildon Churches Together Project 58:7, which feeds Basildon’s homeless people three times a week throughout the year, providing them with hot food and drink.

Reverend Esther McCafferty, of St Martin’s Church, in St Martin’s Square, Basildon, said: “This will give people a real insight into what our homeless people have to face every night.

“But it also highlights to people that becoming homeless could happen to anyone, particularly in this economic climate.

“As well as raising money, we hope this event will make people much more compassionate toward the homeless, but also grateful for what they have as so many of us take things for granted.”

The sleep-out will take place on Friday night in the grounds of the Trinity Methodist Church, on the corner of Clay Hill Road and Bardfield, in Vange.

Rev McCafferty will keep a vigil throughout the night to ensure all those taking part are safe and secure.

Basildon mayor Mo Larkin, who has made Project 58:7 one of her official charities, will also visit the rough sleepers to support them.

All of those taking part will be served breakfast on Saturday morning.

The event is the second of its kind to take place in Basildon. Last year’s event saw 40 people take part and raise £4,200.

The cash is used to feed the homeless every Monday, Wednesday and Friday throughout the year outside the bell tower at St Martin’s Church.

Anyone looking to sponsor the event can collect a form at St Martin’s Church or leave a donation envelope there.

For more information, call the Rev Esther McCafferty on 01268 522455.