We are please to announce the launch of our second Big Sleep Out in aid of Folkestone’s Winter Shelter will take place on Saturday 13 September 2014. Click here to read my account of what it was like last year. We have moved it forward this year to miss rain this year….we hope : ) We are asking local people to ditch your duvet and be sponsored to experience a night sleeping out to raise vital funds to help Folkestone’s vulnerable this winter. You need to make you own home for the night from cardboard boxes (there are prizes for the best designed temporary homes) and spend the night outside with your family and friends. Obviously by taking part in this event you will be helping to raise much needed funds for the Winter Shelter who are pretty much the fourth emergency service in Folkestone. You will get much more out of this experience though than just raising money. Firstly, there was areal sense of achievement from the participants last year. It is a true, life-changing experience, which gives you a proud feeling of accomplishment as well experiencing a true shift in your perspective on life. It really does help you to put your life in context and help you appreciate what you have got and maybe not to take things for granted too much. The most striking change came from the young people and teenagers who took part last year. This experience really did change them and stopped them from taking things that are provided for them for granted. For those of us with kids it is worth taking part in this for that reason alone. So, build your home for the night from cardboard boxes and come along. We will be providing a hot supper, live acoustic music and poetry and games for the kids. Last years event was fabulous and we raised £8,000 for the winter shelter, the target for this event is to raise £15000! The Big Sleep Out is open to all ages, though those under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The winter shelter will be providing nearly 1100 bed spaces, as well as hot meals, drinks and other much needed assistance from December to February. Click here to get the registration forms and for the full details. http://wintershelter.org.uk/big-sleep-out-2014/ Click here to see our Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/326903170808910/ Read some quotes from the people who took part last year as well as the fabulous poem that was composed on the night. Jack Mousley “A new experience, good fun and it changed my opinion of what life is like for other people” Sarah Mousley “The experience really opened my eyes to living outdoors and made me appreciate all the comforts we take for granted. I am in awe of anyone who survives life on the street. I found even one night a struggle and that was in the knowledge that I had a comfortable bed to go home to!” Ollie Warren, 16, a pupil of Harvey Grammar School: “I see people in the street sleeping rough and never truly appreciated how hard they have it. Sleeping out for just one night has helped me experience what they have to go through and by raising some money, means we can try and make a difference.” Lynne Beaumont “Whereas we were going home to have a bath and turn on a washing machine, homeless people do not have such luxuries. Where to get warm? Where to dry your clothes? Where to dry your sleeping bag? Who will let you in to a cafe looking like this? Despite the hardship of that night, and for us, it was only a night, and not the reality of life on the streets, I have registered for this years big sleep out on the 13th september 2014. Homeless people are some of the most vulnerable in our town, the town we call home, and we all need to do our bit to make life safer and less frightening for those concerned”. Jim (26) (volunteered at the Winter Shelter last year) “I believe it right to care for and help those who society has literally left outside, with no means to help themselves. It is heartbreaking that some guests of the shelter literally scared to be inside, having become totally acclimatized to life on the streets.” Sarah Academy FM “It’s easy to forget that people in 2014 are without a home, but it’s not important to know why. What is important to know, which hit home on that stormy night, is that the work of organizations like the Winter Shelter in Folkestone are vital, because they do make a difference. Even when all I can offer is a friendly smile. I will be there this year to support them. See you there?” HOMELESS H is for homeless people who are just as important as we are O is for opportunities to raise money for those who can’t even pay for a chocolate bar M is for the meals homeless people can’t afford E is for the empty feeling of living in cardboard L is for the loneliness homeless people feel E is for empty stomachs that are in need of a meal S is for dealing with day after day strife S is for the constant struggle to improve one’s life The Big Sleep Out is for a brilliant cause Let’s hope we can put up with each other’s snores Composed at the Big Sleep Out – Nov 2013 by Daniel Lloyd (15), Jack Lloyd (11), Lauren Bailey (11), Freya Bailey (8) A big thank you to the wonderful Sharon for her poetry.