Just a quick post to update you on our sleeping rough and to say a huge thank you!
We really had no idea what to expect; we were told to turn up with lots of clothes, a sleeping bag and some cardboard – and so we did! Arriving at around 8pm (with the sleepout schedule for 8pm to 8am) we found a spot plonked down our cardboard to make it our own and settled in. All in all I understand there were around 100 people spread across two sites and it’s fair to say ours was a lively bunch!
We tried very hard not to put on too many clothes or climb into our sleeping bag too early knowing the early hours of the morning were when we would need them the most. Instead, we drank copious amounts of tea and chatted away the first few hours of the night.
When the rain starting lashing it down and wind blew it in from the side (meaning the small bit of cover above our head wasn’t as useful as we’d like) we realised how difficult it could get. That said, we were incredibly fortunate; the temperature barely dropped below freezing and the rain didn’t last all night. When we packed up and left the following morning, almost immediately it began to snow and so we got off lightly all things considered!
There were a couple of points in the night where the cold started to get quite severe, burrowing deep into our bones – we were fortunate that the Middlesbrough College (where the sleepout was held) had bathrooms to use and an endless supply of hot water for drinks – something people living on the streets are not lucky enough to have – and a couple of minutes inside grabbing a drink was enough to stave off the worst of the cold.
Otherwise, the most difficult thing was getting comfortable! It was impossible to get sleep as it was impossible to lay comfortable – lay on your side and your hips dig into the concrete, lay on your front or back and the various metal bits of your jeans dig in to everywhere else! And no pillow – impossible, just impossible to get comfy when the only thing under your head is a thin layer of cardboard and then solid, cold concrete!
When morning dawned (surprisingly bright as you can see from the picture!) we were fortunate enough to be able to pack up our belongings and go home for a bit of sleep and a long hot bath. It took 3-4 days to fully recover from the weariness the night left – and that was just one night!
But it was all worth it; aside from all the awareness the event raised (which could clearly be seen on Twitter!) Natalie and I raised almost £700 between us and early estimates for the overall event and all sponsorship is a total of between £25,000 and £30,000. So, from the bottom of our hearts…. thank you to everyone who sponsored us. We’re super grateful. Almost as grateful as we are for our fluffy pillows!