Wow! Is all I can say! What a success that night was. I think it is safe to say that it was a fantastic turnout, with 100+ sleepers braving a cold wet evening to join us at Sixways. Turning up after work to bed down for the night and setting up their sleeping bags all over the South Stand. It quickly became crowded, and while the rough offered some protection from the elements, the wind still blew through chilling the air, and the cold concrete floor really wasn’t gentle on your joints.
The night was kicked off by short talks from Mel Kirk (CEO of Maggs) and Jonathon Sutton (CEO of St Paul’s Hostel) who discussed the work of the charities and the issues surrounding homelessness in Worcester. Then the group was able to settle down for the night and meet members of the team ask questions and fill the long evening the best they could. A fantastic BBQ was served courtesy of ACEvent Catering, which provided some sustenance and protection against the cold and then a friendly rugby match between the Warriors Homeless Football team and various other Warriors players took place on the pitch.
Then it was time to bed down for the night, and while spirits had mainly been high all evening this was when the hard bit started. The dark, cold and unforgiving surroundings suddenly became real, and participants started to get a small glimpse of what it is like to be homeless.
For me I found it very unnerving being in the dark, with people moving around and noises in all directions and we were safely locked within a stadium. Anxiety, among other mental health concerns, is disproportionately experienced by individuals who are homeless, and it is difficult to imagine just how much this will impact on their ability to sleep, as I found it hard enough. This combined with the cold hard floor beneath me meant that I managed in total about 3 hrs broken sleep, and I was thankful to get to go home to a warm house, hot bath and comfy sofa. If this was night in, night out the toll it would take would be huge and slowly I am sure it would have an impact on my ability to manage life.
When we got up, it was fantastic to get a hot breakfast and drink courtesy of RRT, before heading off to continue with our day.
This was such a great experience for myself and I hope also that it was beneficial to all who took part. I think each and everyone of you need a mention, but unfortunately I don’t have space or time for that. So instead I include some of the pictures that I took on the night below. While we have so far raised almost £35,000 we are still hopefully of reaching our target of £40,000 (remember all proceeds are shared equally between Maggs, St Paul’s Hostel and Warriors Community Foundation). So if you are able to donate and help us achieve this, you can do so here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/donation-web/charity?charityId=1012788&campaignId=6838&stop_mobi=yes