Famous Brummies show their support for #SIFASurvives

A host of famous Brummies have come out in support of #SIFASurvives, a campaign launched to help secure the future of Digbeth-based charity, SIFA Fireside. Forced to close due to Government guidelines and challenged with a significant funding gap, the charity launched an appeal to raise £50,000 and is celebrating reaching a significant milestone in the fundraising, as well as securing the likes of comedian Joe Lycett, Jess Phillips MP and chef Alex Claridge for the appeal’s flagship event, the Big Brummie Camp Out. 

Taking place onthe Early May Bank Holiday (8 May), the Big Brummie Camp Out is encouraging friends and families in lockdown to sleep under the stars to raise money for #SIFASurvives.Whether pitching a tent in the garden, building a DIY den on a balcony, or creating a cushion castle in the living room, everyone is being urged to get involved in the event. 

The evening, which has received support from Joe Lycett, Jess Philips and Barbara Nice, will see a programme of entertainment streamed on the charity’s Facebook page (@sifafireside), featuring music from Elegant Entertainment, and a quiz hosted by SIFA Fireside Patron Alex Claridge and TV host Benjamin Kane. “Campers” are asked to donate a minimum £5 to the appeal in return for access to an exclusive digital download pack, which will include recipes from Michelin-star Aktar Islam (Opheem) and heritage site Sarehole Mill. As well as a guide to moon phases from Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum and a host of campfire activities. 

The latest line-up announcement for the Big Brummie Camp Out comes as the charity also celebrates hitting a milestone in its fundraising efforts. So far, the charity has raised £41,265 and received £33,000, which has been awarded by the Heart of England Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Resilience Fund; launched to support local community groups and projects across the West Midlands and Warwickshire during the pandemic. 

Tina Costello, Chief Executive at Heart of England Community Foundation, comments:  

Since launching the Coronavirus Resilience Fund we’ve been able to support over 180 charities to the tune of £500,000. The work that SIFA Fireside does is crucial and our donation will go towards helping secure its future beyond this devastating pandemic. Helping causes like SIFA Fireside is what Heart of England Community Foundation is all about; we work tirelessly to support projects across the region that are focused on local people and places, and I am so glad that we’re able to help SIFA Fireside continue its work with homeless and vulnerable adults.” 

Based in Digbeth, the SIFA Fireside drop-in centre welcomes around 140 -160 homeless and vulnerable adults each day, providing hot meals, showers, clothing, laundry, health clinics, and housing advice.

Carly Jones, the charity’s Chief Executive, adds:  

We’re overwhelmed by the support that we’ve seen from the general public, charitable foundations and corporate businesses over the past few weeks. Being forced to close and then seeing such a huge drop in donations was a scary time for us; we just didn’t know if we’d be able to re-open when the Government’s social distancing measures were relaxed. We launched #SIFASurvives with the aim of raising at least £50,000 and to be this close to our target already is incredible, but we also wanted the appeal to be a celebration of what SIFA Fireside delivers and who we help

We’ve been using this time to look back at success stories and share the impact of the charity, all at a time when people are more aware of the true value of “home”. That’s what the Big Brummie Camp Out is all about; celebrating your home and having a great time, whilst also helping us continue our work with homeless and vulnerable adults. To have the support of the likes of Joe Lycett, Jess Phillips MP, and everyone else who has signed up to help truly is heart-warming, and I encourage everyone to get involved in what we promise to be an evening full of celebration.” 

To find out how you can support #SIFASurvives and donate to the appeal, visit bit.ly/BigBrummieCampOut.

Becky Weaver