13.11.2015 Team Brighter’s Sleep Out experiences

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Last night the Brighter Comms team took part in the annual Sleep Out challenge for Welsh homeless charity Llamau.

The event saw more than 180 people sleeping outdoors on a cold Cardiff night to help raise much-needed funds for vulnerable homeless young people.

Here are some of our experiences:

Sara Robinson:

“Almost eight hours after waking in the pouring rain, I’m still freezing cold. It’s a deep, grasping cold that I’m not sure I will be able to shake anytime soon. I got to go home this morning and sleep in a bed, and have a warm shower, and listen to music, all things I take for granted most days. After last night I’m not sure I’ll ever take any of these things for granted again.

“Humbling doesn’t even begin to cover it. The very thought that people are forced to live that way night after night, in the sixth richest nation in the world, is heartbreaking. That’s why we were determined to raise as much money as possible, and I’m so proud of the team for their efforts.”

Darren Evans:

“It hit me at 3am. Not the wind; that had been hitting me constantly for the last three hours, in the face, through a gap in our shelter. No, what hit me was the sudden realisation of how it might feel to be homeless. Our makeshift cardboard and bamboo covering had inevitably collapsed and I was finally exposed to the elements. It was the sheer hopelessness of the situation, and my inability to do anything to change it, that gave me the tiniest, briefest insight of how difficult a life on the streets could be.”

Harriet Davies:

“As I drifted in and out of sleep while sandwiched between two pieces of damp cardboard, I thought to myself ‘it can’t be much longer now’. We had been lying on the muddy grass being battered by the wind for a good few hours and sure enough, when 5.30am finally hit, the cheers of celebration and relief broke out.

“We had survived a dark and cold November night outside in the elements. Just one night, and we celebrated. It didn’t take long for the realisation to hit that so many people have no choice but to spend night after night outside and alone, because they have nowhere else to go. It doesn’t end for them after a few hours of discomfort, and they certainly don’t have cause to celebrate. That’s a realisation I won’t forget in a hurry.”

Emma Croke:

“The best laid plans go astray’ – despite two brainstorms, a diagram and a further planning session on site I wholeheartedly believe we overthought the shelter building. Which resulted in it flying away halfway through the night…

“We were lucky with the weather; I couldn’t even imagine how it would feel to have to sleep out every night, regardless of the weather and without a team. It made me incredibly grateful for the amazing team I work with, my warm house and my family and friends.”

Rosie Nutland:

“After rethinking and rebuilding our shelter several times (and with a few last-minute patch jobs along the way) it felt bizarre to finally climb into the cardboard cover at 1am. Whenever I felt myself dozing off, the wind would inevitably pick up and literally blow our shelter off the ground.

“Fortunately, we didn’t experience any rain and the temperature was relatively kind. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like having to build your own shelter every single night, especially throughout the harsh, winter months. This experience made me extremely grateful for having four walls and a roof over my head every night; something that I have inevitably taken for granted up until now.”

Alice Simpson:

“All the duct tape, cable ties and bin bags in Wales couldn’t have prepared me for how I would feel when our cardboard shelter came a cropper from the wind at 3am. It wasn’t the cold, it was gratitude for the bed I mindlessly climb into and the sofa I relax on after a day at the office. Even after last night it’s unimaginable what people left without homes must experience on a day-to-day basis, and there’s no time like the present to raise awareness of such a serious issue.”

Richard Wiggins:

“Through sleeping outside on a windy November night I was reminded of how many people on a daily basis have no choice but to try and rest in significantly worse conditions and in much crueler circumstances. I was grateful to be reminded of how exhausting and challenging homelessness must be.”

Although we have already exceeded our team fundraising target of £1,500 you can still donate by clicking here: https://www.justgiving.com/Brighter-Comms

Every penny raised will help Llamau continue to provide life-changing support.

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