DOZENS of people will bed down outside this evening to experience a night of sleeping rough.

It is hoped the sponsored event at Immanuel Church in Upham Road will raise thousands for Swindon homelessness charity Threshold.

Organisers say this year’s Big Sleepout will be their largest ever, with more than 100 people taking part. The oldest participant is in her 80s and the youngest aged just six.

Michael Keenan of Threshold Housing Link said: “It’s the biggest solidarity event in Swindon. A few years ago we had 18 people sleeping out, last year we had 55. Registrations for this year’s event at the moment are at over 100. Plus, there are 45 police cadets doing a satellite sleepout.

“I can’t begin to imagine the horrors of being homeless and sleeping on the streets. We’re seeing the number of rough sleepers rise. Our outreach team say they are currently dealing with between 50 and 55 people in Swindon.”

It starts at 7pm.