"It is a great fundraiser..."
Sleep Out is our largest fundraising event of the year, supporting our work to prevent youth homelessness in Norfolk and Suffolk by helping local vulnerable young people, who may not have had the best start in life, to take their next steps towards independence and to finally feel hopeful of a better future. The event does not aim to replicate homelessness, but it does give participants a deeper understanding of some of the challenges homeless people may face.
Sarah has supported The Benjamin Foundation Sleep Out since our first event in 2015. We spoke to Sarah about what brings her back to Sleep Out year after year:
“This is my sixth time. It is strangely addictive.” Sarah explains. “It’s about doing something to really raise awareness. More than just asking for sponsorship.”
And it really is a fundraising challenge with a difference, which encourages participants to think more deeply about just some of the challenges that those without a safe and stable home may face.
“It’s horrid. It’s cold, dark, it has rained before, and it is hugely uncomfortable. But the comradery is fabulous. There is always someone to talk to and share your experiences with. It helps you to understand that sleeping rough for many people really is the last option. It’s humiliating and degrading. Why would anyone want to do that?”
Taking place in November, there is a real chance that the weather for Sleep Out could be cold or wet. Participants do have access to toilets, hot drinks and food, but are strongly encouraged to dress for the weather and bring cardboard to sleep on to protect from the cold of the ground.
Sarah offers advice for those who are taking part in Sleep Out for the first time. “Wear lots of layers – and bring more cardboard than you think you need. My ‘must-have’ pieces of Sleep Out clothing are a hat that stays on, with gloves – actually 2 pairs of gloves, and shoes that you can get on and off easily.”
Of course a huge part of Sleep Out is the money that the event raises. In 2019, Sleep Out raised over £100,000 to help end youth homelessness, and this is thanks to people gaining sponsorship from friends, family and colleagues for their Sleep Out challenge.
“Fundraising is often easier after the event – when people know that you have really completed the night!” Sarah adds. “Knowing that the money I’ve raised helps local young people fills me with joy, and having been involved with The Benjamin Foundation for many years, we truly understand the need for this resource.”
Sarah continues: “It will be great to see some old faces again at this year’s Sleep Out – there is a real community feel to the event; its like seriously hardcore networking. And it will be good to catch up with The Benjamin Foundation team, and hear about the progress of the projects.
“I’d encourage others to sign up for Sleep Out 2021 to gain some understanding of how it feels to sleep rough, and because it is a great fundraiser.”
- Ipswich Sleep Out takes place on Thursday 4th November at Ipswich Town Football Club.
- Norwich Sleep Out takes place on Thursday 11th November at Norwich City Football Club.
To join Sarah at Sleep Out 2021 to help to end youth homelessness in Norfolk and Suffolk, register your place today.Sign up for Norwich or Ipswich Sleep Out 2021