On 11th October I took part in my first fundraising event for The Big Issue Foundation, The Bristol Sleep Out. After constantly checking the weather in the week leading up to the event, praying for a mild dry night, I was knocked back down to earth with a typically Bristolian wet and windy evening.
But whilst it’s easy for me to complain about having a cold and damp night’s sleep some people don’t have the choice and sleeping out isn’t a once a year event. An event like this will never replicate what it’s like to live on the streets but it certainly gives you a wake-up call and hopefully gives participants a tiny insight into some of the challenges that are faced by rough sleepers.
Speaking to other participants in the morning the general feeling was one of reflection and sharing the details that we hadn’t previously considered – the noise of people walking home from the pub, the screeching of birds in the morning – all of which barely scratches the surface of what people without a home go through every day.
Overall the event was a big success – the event organisers, Bristol Homeless Forum, were wonderful, making sure that we were all safe and reassured and providing us with snacks and warm cups of tea in the morning. There were approximately 70 people sleeping out on the night all in aid of different homeless charities but there was a real feeling of solidarity, and a desire to make a positive change amongst everyone there.
But the highlight for me was meeting and chatting to The Big Issue Foundation supporters, all with different reasons for supporting the charity, but all so passionate about helping Big Issue vendors.
Thank you so much to all of the participants who gave up their bed for the night and raised money to help end poverty and exclusion for vendors. Our service brokers couldn’t do the amazing work they do without people like you.