Be part of the solution to End Homelessness in Our Community:
Once again, hundreds of people braved a freezing cold night in December to bed down for our Big SleepOut event. Flat-pack boxes, flasks and three or four layers clothing were all that people had to protect themselves from the elements, as we spent a night under the stars for a mini taster of what street homelessness might be like.
As always, we had a wonderfully diverse range of participants; from schools and scout groups to professional organisations, activists and performers. The camaraderie was infectious from the off, and as the crowd was addressed early on by Russell Brand, we were all reminded of our reasons for gathering together.
The Big SleepOut is as much about raising awareness and having an impact on people, as it is about raising money. Everybody knows that it’s nowhere near as bad as being street homeless. But when the lights go out, and you’re alone in your cardboard box with a sleeping bag and (hopefully) a woolly hat, you suddenly feel very alone and very vulnerable.
It isn’t a comfy night’s sleep, because it isn’t meant to be. Those of us that toss and turn will have limbs aching from resting on the hard ground. A few may have struggled in the cold. A few will have had to get up in the early hours to use the toilet; which is far worse when you’re stepping into the dead of a December night.
The point is, it’s such a vivid experience – both physically and emotionally – that it drives people on to make more noise, take more action and draw more people in to the campaign against homelessness. So many street homeless people become invisible: the dehumanisation that they face from every angle is intolerable when confronted.
Before lights out, we had “busking” performances from the Sgt. Pepper’s Homeless Hearts Club Band; spoken word from #PoetsAgainstHomelessness, a thumbing DJ set from ‘90s icon Brandon Block; and a stunning music set from loop artist Paolo Morena. We also had testimonials and stories from some of the people that Trinity have had the pleasure of working with over the last few years; people who did bed down in the freezing cold for real, and who’ve gone on to see their lives improve drastically.
#BSO2017 was a celebration, a confrontation, a coming together and a challenge. We can’t be thankful enough to everybody that took part, and can’t wait for an event better event in 2018. For the time being, donations are still open until 1 March – so please keep sharing your fundraising pages, and making an incredible difference to Trinity and our services!