On Friday 6th March members of the Accommodation Services Team took part in our first ‘Sleep Easy’ event for YMCA Lincolnshire, which we have been busy raising awareness and sponsorship funds for the event over the past few weeks. In the week leading up to the event, we were all nervously checking the weather forecast daily (hourly in some cases!) and wondering how many pairs of socks we should take and how many layers we could put on and still be able to fit in our sleeping bags. On the night, the sky was clear and we were fortunate in that we had no rain, however temperatures dropped to around 1°C and it was a very cold experience.
But whilst it’s easy for us to complain about having a cold and interrupted night’s sleep, some people don’t have the choice and sleeping out isn’t a once a year event. We were all aware that an event like this will never replicate what it’s like to live on the streets but it certainly gave us a wake-up call and some (albeit small) insight into some of the challenges that are faced daily by rough sleepers.
Overall the event was a big success – lots of money was raised for the charity! Our boxes survived the night, we all managed to get some sleep (even if only an hour or two). The event organisers – YMCA Lincolnshire – were great, making sure that we were all safe and provided us with snacks and warm cups of tea and coffee throughout the night. In total, there were approximately 100 people sleeping out, all raising much needed funds for this great charity to help those that need it the most.
Our general feeling in the morning was one of reflection and our thoughts drifted to ‘what if this wasn’t a one off event’; Where would we leave our boxes and belongings for the next night? Where could we get warm? Where could we have a shower? I can’t imagine what it must be like to experience this every day. Afterwards, we all felt very tired but we were also very aware that we could go home to a warm bed, a hot shower and fresh clothes. For those sleeping rough, that wouldn’t be an option.
We were all so grateful to be taking part as a group and that was one of the things that struck us the most. We were in our group of friends all night long; we were never alone and we all helped each other. Our thoughts kept wandering to those people who are alone and sleeping rough and have nobody to talk to or ask for help. This must be one of the worst things and must feel very lonely and isolating.
Despite the cold weather and hard floor, we knew straight away that we wanted to take part again; this has increased our awareness and has given us more of a desire to help influence as much positive change as we can, which includes raising as much awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness and to raise as much money as possible for the YMCA to use for those that need it the most.
If you’d like to donate, our fundraising page will still be open for a couple of weeks and all donations are very much appreciated https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/unilincolnaccommodationservices