Will you brave the cold to help the homeless?
This year, the Sleepout will be back at Oaklands College on Friday 10th November 2023. With your help, we can make the Sleepout this year another huge success and make a real difference to vulnerable people across Hertfordshire this winter.
St Albans Sleepout Celebrates 30 Years of Supporting the Homeless
On Friday 10th November 2023, St Albans Sleepout will mark its 30th anniversary, attracting people from all over St Albans and beyond. Participants will spend an evening outside under the stars, raising funds for Open Door along with Herts Young Homeless, The Living Room, Centre 33 and Emmaus.
How did the St Albans Sleepout start?
The St Albans Sleepout started in 1993 under the leadership of Reverend Paul Hackwood, then the St Albans Diocese’s Social Responsibility Officer. The idea behind the event was to express solidarity with the homeless during a time when the number of homeless people rose due to the deep recession. The first Sleepout took place at the Abbey, and it was a success, leading to the event’s continued success. Today, many participants come as groups from schools, youth organisations, or as friends or colleagues, with some not even born when the Sleepout began. Oaklands College currently hosts the event, and Open Door, Herts Young Homeless, The Living Room, Centre 33, and Emmaus will welcome supporters to the college on Friday, November 10th.
What can you expect at the St Albans Sleepout 2023?
A great big welcome from Open Door! When you arrive at Oaklands College, you’ll see a large stack of cardboard outside. Take what you need, as that will be your bed for the night (we do recommend that you bring your own with you) Register with us inside the college, and we’ll provide a short briefing. If you’re lucky, they may even suggest the best place to sleep for the night. Our best tip is to sleep against a wall near a light, and don’t forget to bring plenty of layers, a tarpaulin or similar water-resistant cover, and a high-quality sleeping bag to keep you warm and dry. Once you’ve set up your bed, feel free to enjoy the live music and talks throughout the evening. Volunteers and charity representatives will be available all night should you need assistance.
Although we want participants to have a good time, complete with live music, charity talks, snacks, hot drinks and bacon sandwiches, we must remember that this is not the reality for those who are homeless or rough sleeping. They face constant fear and uncertainty – not knowing where they will sleep or shower, how they will find food, stay warm or dry, or if their belongings will be safe. While we hope that our participants enjoy themselves, we ask that they take a moment to reflect on the reason behind the event. As you lay your head down for the night, think of those who endure this hardship on a daily basis. Remember, for you this is only one night, but for many others, it’s a daily struggle. This is why the sponsorship you raise is so vitally important to Open Door and all the Charities involved.
Why we need your support?
The Winter Beds Project provides people who would otherwise be rough sleeping with self-contained sleeper cabins. Each cabins provides secure, Covid safe accommodation with heating, electricity and en-suite facilities. Guests of the project are supported to find secure accommodation to move on to by the rough sleeper outreach team. The project runs from December through to the beginning of April and can accommodate 4 people each night on top of the 12 bed spaces at the Night Shelter. Last year the Winter Beds project cost £26,918.00.
We helped Graham get back on his feet again
Graham worked full time until a few months before coming to Open Door. After a relationship breakdown, he lost his job and his home.
“When I first came to Open Door I had never been in a night shelter before so I didn’t know what to expect. The man sat on the sofa offered me his hand and said, “welcome to Open Door”, and gave me his name. These were some of the nicest words I’d heard in a long time.
The team at Open Door were very welcoming and professional. They took me in and during my stay they went out of their way to help me. I have seen a lot of people that were helped in equal ways that meant that our dignity was not taken away at any time. Everyone is treated with respect at Open Door, no matter what their background or life experience.”
David Lane, Chair of the Open Door Board of Trustees commented:
“Rough sleeping at any time of year is not a choice but in the harsh weather over winter it is something to be avoided at all costs. In order to tackle this problem and using our wonderful volunteers, Open Door will once again be opening its Winter Beds Project, providing overnight accommodation and breakfast to those who otherwise would be sleeping rough, in the open and exposed to the elements. We can only do this with the financial support of the people of St Albans to whom I and the Trustees give our heartfelt thanks.”
We’re also looking for corporate teams to go head to head in a sponsorship battle. Who can raise the most? Would your company be able to match fund the sponsorship raised? If you’re a business who would be willing to sponsor us or match fund, please get in touch!
Put the date in your diaries! Friday 10th November. We hope to see you there.
To register your interest in this event, please complete the form below:
Once you have signed up for the Sleep out, the next stage is to set up a fundraising page. This is key to your fundraising success!
There are many platforms that can be used to fundraise. You can sign up to Just Giving below. Remember to tell your story. Why are you fundraising? Why did you decide to Sleepout for Open Door. Personalise your message.
It’s time to share and spread the word! Share your fundraising page with everyone you know. Friends, work colleagues, family and community groups. Let everyone know about the amazing fundraiser you have chosen to be part of. They’ll think you’re as fabulous as we do. Perhaps make a video and share it on social media explaining why you’ve decided to fundraise. Get creative and you’ll soon see your donations flying in.
Once the Sleepout is completed and sponsorship has been collected, you can send donations and sponsorships forms:
Or you may wish to set up your own fundraising page and collect donations via Just Giving – search for Open Door St Albans