Brutal weather sees charity sleep-out cancelled and volunteers treated by medics

A charity sleep-out to raise money for the homeless was cancelled by ferocious rains that left some people needing medical attention.

Hundreds of people who were preparing to brave the brutally cold temperature of Cardiff's streets on Saturday were told to go home because of the weather.

The cancellation came after numerous people needed medical attention because of the wind and rain, Wales Online reported.

Part of the event's site – Cardiff Castle – had to be evacuated due to flooding.

Chief executive of charity Llamau Frances Beecher said: "We had paramedics there for health and safety reasons and St John Ambulance volunteers already.

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"They had a look at people who were cold and went an gave them blankets, they were all fine in the end though."

After the people were given hot drinks and blankets they required no further attention.

Ms Beecher added: "There were high winds and the communications tent was in danger of blowing away so we had to evacuate part of the site just to bring that tent down, and then a little bit later on at around 4am we called it an early finish."

Anna Lewis, a WalesOnline reporter who took part in th event said "torrential rain" started falling at around 11pm.

She said: "As the downpour continued we found ourselves sleeping in puddles on our tarpaulins.

"Huddled in our emergency shelter bags all you could hear was the rain pelting down, cutting off all other sound.

"As the wind picked up it felt like you were being physically pushed from side to side. While it wasn't cold, it didn't make for an easy night sleep and I soon felt very alone with my thoughts.

"By 2am those with wet sleeping bags had no choice but to leave. But others took a different approach, leaving their drenched sleeping bags and huddling together outside the Cardiff Casle ticket office being used as the Sleep Out headquarters.

"They were tired and cold but determined to stick it out and make the best of a bad situation."

The fact the event was considered too dangerous given the weather underlines the peril facing thousands of homeless people who sleep rough on Britain's streets every day.

According to the latest figure published by Crisis, 4,677 people slept on the streets each night in autumn 2018.

Since 2010 – when the Conservative Party formed a Government – rough sleeping estimates show an increase of 165%.

Organisers of the World’s Big Sleep Out, which began on a small scale in Edinburgh in 2016, said 52 cities participated in this year’s event, from Brisbane to Los Angeles.

Among the celebrities taking to their sleeping bags in the castle grounds were Gavin and Stacey star Ruth Jones – who even provided a bed time story for sleepers, echoing Helen Mirren at Trafalgar Square in London and Will Smith in Times Square in New York.

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