On the 29th November, Sam, Sharon and Jo from our Heywood office and over two hundred other Mancunians swapped their beds for sleeping bags to raise funds for the youth homeless charity Centrepoint. Sleep Out is Centrepoint’s flagship annual event, taking over the unheated Victoria Baths.
Sleep Out doesn’t aim to replicate what it’s like to be homeless, but it does give you an insight into the challenges faced by homeless young people: the biting cold, the lack of control and the struggle to carry on with the next day on minimal sleep. Everyone who took part had a fundraising challenge to reach over £350 each to fund Centrepoint’s work in Greater Manchester.
The charity began working in the region earlier this year, supporting 2,000 young people each year. Centrepoint provides practical support and advice for those at risk of homelessness, and helps young people to turn their lives around by gaining essential life skills, tackling physical and mental health issues and moving into education or employment.
The night started so well, we arrived around 7.30pm and was provided with a nice warm meal and began to watch the entertainment for the night. We watched talks about Centrepoint and how they tackle youth homelessness and the effects it can have on the young people who have to cope with it daily. We took part in workshops about the work Centrepoint do and even had a bed time poem read to us all from Louise Wallwein MBE. Louise was brought up in 13 different children homes and wrote her first play aged just 17. At 11.30pm it was time for bed and the temperatures began to plummet.
We had all taken with us just a sleeping bag, minimal layers and a roll mat, lights out happened at 12am and you felt utterly disorientated once the darkness swept over. Sleep seemed to elude the whole room with people turning and squirming on the cold marble floors. We all felt a sense of vulnerability but for us there was a crucial difference, normality was only a few hours away which is a far cry from those sleeping rough on the streets of Manchester every night.
By 6am the majority of the room had begun to stir, we all awoke feeling achy, tired and grumpy but this is all part of the unique experience of Sleep Out! Every day, thousands of people have to get through long days of work or learning, having spent the night sleeping outside or in a dangerous place.
The great news is that Sam, Sharon and Jo managed to pass their target and raised an incredible £1,150.16 towards the fantastic work Centrepoint achieves. We’re thrilled to also say that the fundraising total so far from the night was £65,937!