A FORMER homeless man is bringing together some of Bolton’s most well-known faces to help people who are living on the street.

Darren Armstrong was homeless for two years from the age of just 14 but after a long battle with drugs and run-ins with the law, he founded the Be Strong Project aimed at helping people struggling with the same issues that he fought.

On January 17, Mr Armstrong’s birthday, the 39-year-old will be joined by former Wanderers stars John McGinlay and Tony Kelly, as well as Carr’s Pasties boss Liam Carr for a night sleeping outside.

The sponsored Sleepout will raise money to directly tackle homelessness across Bolton by creating a ‘sanctuary’ - a safe place in which people will be able to eat, sleep, shower and get a change of clothes.

“I was homeless at 14, lived on the street for 2 years,” Mr Armstrong said.

“I know what it’s like to wear the same socks and underwear for weeks. My feet would sweat and crack, preventing me from walking very far. I was kicked in the eye as I slept under a door way just to keep warm outside a Caribbean night club on Queen’s Park in Bolton."

Adding: “I know what it’s like to be homeless, I know what’s it’s like to have no one to tell you it’s going to be ok. That’s why I’m doing this, this is why I’m doing this on my birthday because I’m passionate about the homeless people who are dying on the streets, it could so easily have been me.”

Ex-footballer Mr McGinlay said raising money for the sanctuary was a key way to help those sleeping on Bolton’s streets.

He said: “Anything at all that helps is important. Resources are tight, when you look at the government you can see that.

“But people like Darren have got some great ideas so that’s what we are trying to tap into.

“It’s a sad sight to see people sleeping on the streets in our town.”

The Sleepout will take place between 7pm and 7am outside the Carr’s Pasties shop on Manchester Road.

To donate, visit: gf.me/u/pwyzd2 or find out more about Be Strong at: www.be-strong.org.uk.