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The Big Crawley Sleepout raises £14,000 for charities

80 people chose to sleep outside on the night of Thursday 21 March to support two local charities – Crawley Open House and YMCA Crawley.



The mass sponsored sleepout event aims to raise vital funds for homeless and vulnerable people across Crawley, and saw local people, businesses and councillors come together to spend a night sleeping under the stars. To date, the event has raised almost £14,000. 

West Sussex County Council is cutting funding to the housing related support budget over the next few years, from £6.3m to £2.3m by 2020/21, putting increasing pressure on local charities. Crawley Open House and YMCA Crawley have a long history in the town and called on the local community to help protect services in the area. Funds raised at the event will be split jointly between the organisations, with money raised helping some of the county’s most disadvantaged people.

Charlie Arratoon, Director of Crawley Open House, says:

“We are all aware that homelessness is increasing, with more people on the streets and more ‘hidden homeless’ who are insecurely housed and not sure where they will be night after night. An event like this does not replicate homelessness but does bring sharply into focus the luxuries many of us take for granted.”  

Sharon Rawcliffe, Senior Project Worker at YMCA Crawley, adds:

“The money raised by the Big Crawley Sleepout will make a huge difference to the vulnerable and homeless people we work with. We are so thankful for those who slept out for a night – we have an amazing community here in Crawley. 

Among those sleeping out on-the-night was Simone, who commented:

“Crawley Sleepout was a big eye opener for me. I didn’t realise how painful it would be trying to sleep on a layer of cardboard, and homeless people do it night after night. I think the YMCA and Crawley Open House do amazing work.”

Donations are still welcome at


Gatwick Express team gives cash boost to Crawley charity

The Gatwick Express team has given a local charity a cash boost following a number of staff fundraising initiatives in recent months.



Maria Cook, Chair of Autism Support Crawley (left) takes delivery of a 'rail ticket cheque' from Gatwick Express managers

Autism Support Crawley, which supports children and adults on the autistic spectrum, has been given a generous donation of £1,931.15 thanks to kind-hearted Gatwick Express staff who have taken part in a series of activities at Gatwick Airport Station, including cake sales, a Christmas jumper competition and bucket appeals.

Station staff were delighted to be able to hand over a cheque to Autism Support Crawley on Tuesday, May 21 to the chairperson of the charity, Maria Cook.

She said:

“We are thrilled to receive such wonderful support from everyone at Gatwick Express.

“Their response to the voluntary work that we do for over 1,200 families across Sussex and Surrey is overwhelming. This will go a long way in helping us to continue to support families and work with lots of different professions to improve understanding, acceptance and inclusion in society,”she added.

Gatwick Express staff were inspired to support the charity after hosting a group from Autism Support Crawley for a ‘Try a Train’ event, during which autistic young people and adults were shown around the station to help them become more familiar and confident when travelling by train, as well as how to buy tickets to support more independent travel.

Gatwick area station manager David Stronell said:

“We’re really proud of all the work we have done to help the charity. The whole station has been involved in the fundraising.

“Since we started supporting the charity, it has sparked a lot of conversations and a lot of staff have talked about having children on the autistic spectrum. It has brought us all together and got people opening up about autism, which in turn has raised awareness for us all,” said David.

Charity trustee, member and service user Charlotte Gover said:

“The amazing donation from Gatwick Express will support so many of our families by enabling us to continue to provide information sessions, conferences, coffee mornings, evening meetings and much needed inclusive family events.”

Staff at Gatwick are now gearing up for their next fundraising events so watch this space!

This month also marks the 35th birthday of Gatwick Express and there have been plenty of activities going on to celebrate the occasion.

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