Heavy rain, freezing temperatures, blowing winds and a piece of cardboard... It was a tough night for Haydn van Weenen and Tom Mollett at the Fine & Country Bedford Sleep Out.
On the night
Fine & Country Bedford organised a Sleep Out on Thursday 9th November. They had a private car park to sleep in so they knew they would be safe for the night. Before going to their sleeping area, Haydn and Tom wandered around Bedford to speak to homeless people and hear their stories. They heard from around a dozen people, all with their own individual stories about how they became homeless.
One man from North London had been homeless for two years following the breakdown of his marriage. He is currently sleeping in a tent.
Another man lost his job and was forced to leave his housing association home. He is now using the soup kitchens for meals is living rough on the streets.
Haydn said: “The night itself was not pleasant, but it was nevertheless an incredible experience. Everyone I spoke to was really happy that I was doing something to try and understand the struggles of living on the streets. The homeless people were even more enthusiastic when I explained that the donations were going to the Prebend Centre because that is where they all go for hot meals and assistance.”
After a few hours of walking the streets of Bedford, Haydn and Tom returned to the car park for the night. They made cardboard structures and got out their sleeping bags. Rain started to set in and by 11pm they could barely feel their toes. Throughout the night, Haydn and Tom shared images and videos on Facebook to show their progress.
The next morning
The pair woke up in the early hours of Friday 10th November. Just when they thought the experience was over, the pair wriggled out of their cardboard shelter, packed up the sleeping bags and headed to work. Exhausted and freezing, they did their best to continue their normal working day, but it was clear that the Sleep Out was not as easy as it seems.
Haydn said, “It was completely shattered the whole of Friday. No matter how many layers I put on, I just couldn’t get warm. I’m glad that I have the weekend to recover, but I cannot understand how people are able to cope more than one night sleeping on the streets. The event has really opened my eyes to how difficult it is to function the next day.”
Sleepy Haydn taking his son to school
For a great cause
Haydn and Tom raised an amazing £1,180 from their Sleep Out. This was the second event that Fine & Country Bedford have held for the SMART Prebend Centre. The first was a coffee morning in November which raised £437, making a total of £1,617.
Find out how their coffee morning event went by clicking here.
The SMART Prebend Centre is a well-known and respected local homeless charity in Bedford. They provide basic needs for homeless people in the area. Hot meals and showers are more important than ever during the winter months. In January 2017 alone, they received 1,380 people for lunch and 409 for breakfast.
The money raised from Fine & Country Bedford’s events will help to pay for a new fridge. Without the new fridge, the centre would be unable to cope with the quantity of people who need hot meals, which is exacerbated by the cold winters. Thanks to the generosity of family, friends, clients and members of the public, there is more than enough money to pay for the fridge, leaving £500 left over. This will be used to supply cooking utensils and kitchen equipment for unstructured activities which provide essential life skills and hygiene lessons to their visitors.
For more information about The Fine & Country Foundation, our events or grant opportunities, please contact us at email@example.com or call +44(0)20 3368 8221.
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