A POPULAR beachfront bar is hosting a sleepout to help raise funds to support the homeless. 

SOBO Beach, on Southbourne Promenade, is offering the chance to sleep within its bar. 

Set to happen on March 1, the event will raise money for youth homeless charity, Centrepoint, which keeps young people off the streets. 

Event organiser, Mark Kedgley, said: "We're sleeping out, not quite on the sand, and hope to raise a few thousands pounds while having a bit of fun in the process. 

"SOBO Beach is not 100 per cent weatherproof but that was the idea. People have said 'that sounds terrible, can't you organise it in the summer?' The whole intent is at least we have a choice." 

With space for 40 sleepers, 14 people have agreed to sign on to the event with more than £2,000 already raised. 

This is the first event Mark has hosted for Centrepoint and he hopes he can turn it into an annual event. 

He said: "We've got the best beaches in the country and I set about to find a beachside venue. It took a few attempts and a few said no but SOBO Beach's owner, Rich was gracious enough to let me organise it.

"If it doesn't go 100 per cent to plan, then that adds to the event and highlights the fact we're only doing it for one night in a safe environment. Imagine to do it night after night when you're not prepared to."

More than 1,000 people were sleeping rough or in temporary accommodation in the BCP area in December according to figures released by housing charity, Shelter. 

Centrepoint aims to tackle these figures, focussed on ending youth homelessness. 

Mark said: "It's something between us we should have more compassion about and if you don't like seeing homeless people, this is an opportunity to help do something about it.

"There's misconceptions about why people are homeless and that it is drugs and it's brought on themselves, but it's not true for youth homelessness."

Mark has invited interested parties to join in with more information on the event's JustGiving page.