A HOMELESS charity have launched their 2021 Big Sleep Out event.

Arc, who cover Taunton, West Somerset and Sedgemoor, have asked residents to spend one night outside to raise money to help the homeless.

Normally the event is held in a local car park. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 event was a virtual sleep out, which managed to raise more than £13,500.

This year, the sleep out on Friday, June 11, will be virtual as well.

Arc are asking people to sleep in their gardens, sheds, garages or even somewhere unusual - like under the dining table if no outdoor space is available.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: The Taylor familyThe Taylor family

But participants will still have the opportunity to socialise with other people via a live stream.

Organiser, Rosie Hather, said: "By spending just one night away from your bed, you will be helping someone else to access one.

"You’ll be providing the opportunity of a safe place, a listening ear, a hot meal and the chance to start again. That one night could change someone’s life.

"We hope you can join us virtually for a night under the stars!”

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Steve, Harry and Daniel Atkinson Steve, Harry and Daniel Atkinson

Arc do not want the Virtual Big Sleep Out to replicate homelessness, but they want to raise awareness of the realities a homeless person might face.

Anna, who has taken part in the event since 2016, was supported by Arc 12 years ago when she became homeless.

“It is a great event and makes people realise what it is like for homeless people," she said.

"The money raised at the event helps the clients in so many ways such as move on, items they need, courses and activities which help with mental health and much more.

"Arc isn't just a home, it's a chance of help to make a better life and memories.”

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: BIG SLEEP OUT: Perla Shed to sleep in

The funds raised during the sleep out will go towards projects such as The Reach Centre - Arc's wellbeing hub which includes a doctors surgery and access to mental and physical health support.

With restrictions lifting, Arc also hope to relaunch their in-house academy, where clients can gain real-world AQA qualifications to improve their prospects for securing employment.

For more information about the Virtual Big Sleep Out 2021, visit www.arcinspire.co.uk/bigsleepout2021.