Big Sleep Out 2018
“Incredibly humbling but great to be a part of a brilliant community event. If you’re reading this and haven’t taken part before, maybe you’re unsure or don’t think you’d like the cold – TRY IT, you’ll be surprised. See you next year!” Jamie Butler
Friday 31 August 95 people slept out for the night, gaining a small insight into what it’s really like to sleep rough.
They raised over £26,000 helping Launchpad to support those who have slept rough and the hidden homeless, around 400 Reading people every year.
The evening began with everyone arriving at 7pm with cardboard and sleeping bags tucked under their arms. They were invited to contribute to ‘the bed’ leaving a message for the people we support, messages included ‘one day your life will be full of colour’ ‘we’re all in this together’ and ‘no matter how long the winter, the spring will follow’.
At 8pm everyone headed inside to hear from a young woman Launchpad has supported. Her dad died when she was just six months old, she’s a carer for her mother who has struggled with an alcohol addiction, she was also the victim of domestic violence both mental and physical. Her and her son spent 11 weeks in a B&B, sharing with five other families. They had to share a double bed and her son who was 10 at the time was too scared to go to the bathroom on his own. She is now in her own privately rented accommodation which they can really make their own, they are allowed to decorate. Launchpad have helped with funding for white goods, paint and a sofa and been there for her. She is now looking to the future so much more positively.
Soup was served made by our neighbours Shed Café. Musician Davie McGirr busked lullabies before everyone headed out to spend a night under the stars with just cardboard and a sleeping bag for comfort experiencing what it’s like to get minimal sleep and be vulnerable to the elements.
It was a surprisingly cold morning with many awake at 4am chilly and tired. By 6am everyone was awake collecting their certificate of achievement and on their way having gained a tiny insight into what it’s like to sleep rough for just one night, returning to their safe homes and warm beds. Sadly for others the reality is very different.
In the morning Becca shared. ‘Cold, damp, noisy, restless, no sleep – but we’re the lucky ones! We’re going back to a house, bed and shower that are our own. For some, there are no smiles and a coffee waiting in the morning – fear, judgement, anxiety, depression, addiction are just a few things those on the streets and the hidden homeless face daily. Launchpad are some much needed light in some very dark days for those that they support and we are privileged to have been able to help them to do more wonderful work in our town.’
Thank you to everyone who took part, volunteered and supported those sleeping out. An overwhelming amount of money was raised. Our autumn Big Sleep Out helps to prevent homelessness in winter months when rough sleeping becomes even more dangerous.
Homelessness is complicated and those sleeping rough are the tip of the iceberg, the hidden homeless include many single parents struggling to bring up their young children in unsuitable B&Bs and those sleeping on friends sofas night after night.
Photos Big Sleep Out 2018
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