Big Issue Foundation

Our Bristol volunteer Lewis shares his experience of sleeping out in support of our work

Last Friday night around 150 people could be seen bedding down for the night in the open air outside Pip and Jay’s church in central Bristol. It was the annual Big Sleep Out with volunteers sleeping rough for one night to raise awareness and money for a range of homelessness-related charities including The Big Issue Foundation.

Over the whole event an estimated £15,000 was raised – wow! Among the intrepid TBI fundraisers were Katy and I from the Bristol office who had to contend with temperatures dropping to zero with only sleeping bags for protection and a sheet of cardboard underneath, while attempting to shut out constant noise from traffic and the next-door ambulance station (think lorry reversing, only ten times louder) to try and grab a few short stretches of sleep.

It was a tough night. But in comparison to real rough sleepers, Big Sleep Out participants had it very easy indeed. We were, after all, safe in a controlled situation and knew we were going home the next day. Both Katy and I found the experience very rewarding, we were hugely glad we did it and, yes, even enjoyed it all.
Sleeping out for a single night cannot replicate what it is like to really be homeless but, by the measure of how far this brief experience falls short of the real thing, did give much food for thought and some sort of appreciation of how tough it must be for those who don’t have a choice about sleeping rough, not once but every day.

To register your interest for the next Bristol or London Sleep Out, please email events@bigissue.com

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