Top storytellers, great music, homemade pizzas, campfire chats, illustration classes and bedding down in the night air are all on the menu when fundraisers gather for Sleepout at the Eden Project on November 25.
The event raises much-needed cash for two vital South West charities supporting people facing homelessness. They say the extra funds can be life-saving, going into an uncertain winter when a huge demand for help in the region is at its highest for three years. Sleepout has been held at Eden single homeless people since 2014 and is working to end homelessness in Cornwall, and The Amber Foundation, which has three residential centres supporting young people who have no home to find housing and work.
Organisers say there are still spaces available for individuals and groups to take part and unless the number limit is reached beforehand, entries are open until the day, November 25.Rick Stein’s team are taking part again this year, with seven people attending. They have already raised £1,000 and are aiming for £5,000. The Rick Stein Group have provided significant support to St Petrocs over the years. St Kew Free Range Eggs are also sending teams of fundraisers in support of The Amber Foundation.
Also taking part are the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of St Just, Councillors Sue James and Daisy Carlyon Gibbs, who have both set themselves a target of £1,000. Helping homeless people is dear to their hearts and they are taking part with the full support of St Just Town Council.
Speaking on the night in front of the Eden Biomes is acclaimed author Raynor Winn, who was suddenly made homeless in her fifties and has since written two bestselling books, The Salt Path and The Wild Silence, based on her and husband Moth’s experiences. Raynor and Moth are great supporters of the Sleepout event. Rebecca Fry, Amber’s fundraising manager, and Dave Brown, communications manager of St Petrocs, will be speaking about the work of the two charities and how there is an acute need for homelessness services as cold weather sets in and the strains of the pandemic continue to be felt. Rebecca Fry of Amber said “The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the lives of disadvantaged young people. They were struggling before the pandemic and many have been brought to breaking point over the last 18 months.
We are seeing rising demand for bed spaces and the young people who are coming to us have more complex needs (especially with their mental health) than ever before. Funds raised at the sleep out will be used immediately supporting these young people through the winter”
Dave Brown of St Petrocs said: “Now that the pandemic seems to have left its mark on us all, we are beginning to see some very unfortunate aspects to our work. We are seeing more people who have worked in industries which have been adversely affected. One man who recently came to us said his life had been destroyed by Covid, blaming both the breakdown in his marriage and the loss of his job on the pandemic.
“It often takes a combination of events in quick succession to push people into sleeping rough. People come to us broken. Mental health issues are looming very large at the moment. So many people are struggling, and this makes them a lot more vulnerable. We continue to offer the best possible services to everyone who comes to us.”
Illustration classes will be led by Helen Trevaskis and Rosie Flatt, graduates of Falmouth University’s prestigious Illustration BA and two of the organisers of StreetDraw24 (link opens in a new tab) – an annual 24-hour drawing event and exhibition to raise awareness and funds for St Petrocs. Another great Sleepout supporter, acclaimed singer, Suzie Mac will be returning by popular demand.
Taking to the Sleepout stage for the first time is Bailey Nelson, a 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Plymouth. Eden’s chef team will be making sure everyone has some good warm food for the long night ahead by leading soup and pizza-making workshops.
Outside, the campfire is a good spot to meet and share stories throughout the event. And before Sleepout fundraisers get their heads down under the stars, a relaxing bedtime yoga session will be led by Rebecca Rowe, health club manager of St Michaels Resort, Falmouth.
Last year’s Sleepout raised around £10,000 for the two charities and, they say, was a big help in providing winter services. To find out more and to sign up for this year’s event go to the Sleep Out for Homelessness Charities page on the Eden Project website.