Date: 
Friday, November 10, 2017 - 12:00

Around 100 people braved a long, chilly night in the open air at the Eden Project last night (Thursday) to help raise vital funds for homeless people.

They grabbed as much rest as they could lying on hard ground in sleeping bags under an awning in front of the Eden Biomes.

Sleep Out is a nationwide event organised by the End Youth Homelessness campaign (EYH), a national partnership of grassroots charities and companies.

The aim of the fourth annual Sleep Out at Eden is to raise funds and generate awareness for two South West charities, St Petroc’s Society which helps single homeless people in Cornwall, and the Amber Foundation which has three centres helping young people across the South and South West of England.

The charities say that the numbers of people who find themselves homeless increases every year.

Representatives of the two charities and some of the people they help joined fund-raising volunteers in the mass gathering at Eden.

Both charities say that funds raised through Sleep Out lead to a direct benefit to homeless people.

Judith Dumbrell, Director of Finance at St Petroc’s, said: “Money raised will go towards our cold weather provision, which means that we can open the doors of our resource centre in Truro for homeless people to sleep at night from mid-December for two months, the coldest and hardest months of the year.

“Last year we had 59 people access the service in that time and we went on to accommodate 42 of them in suitable accommodation so you can see that just this one event makes a real tangible difference.

“Sadly the numbers of people who find themselves homeless increase every year and the latest figures show that Cornwall has the third highest number of rough sleepers in the UK.

Judith added: “I’d like to thank the Eden Project and everyone who took part on behalf of the people who are going to use the service this winter. The fact that you’ve got 100 people here who are really keen to do something and find out what is going on – that is so important too.”

Claire Miller, community fundraiser of the Amber Foundation, said: “The funding from this is so appreciated by Amber. It will make a very big difference. But just as importantly, raising awareness about this issue is vital.

“Homelessness is a growing problem in today’s society. It’s not going away and we need to take positive action to help end homelessness. Thank you to Eden for organising such an amazing event.”

A really important thing for the Foundation, said Claire, is that the money raised through Sleep Out represents unrestricted funding which pays for core costs, helping to fund its centres and staff. The foundation has three centres across the country, supporting around 150 people aged between 17 and 30.

Before bedding down on hard ground the Sleep Out participants enjoyed a lively evening of entertainment from the Suzie Mac Trio and duo Dew Barf. The volunteers also took part in a masterclass in bread-making led by the Eden chefs and listened to a bed-time story around the fire-pit.

Jess Rawlings, Project Manager of Sleep Out at Eden, said: “It’s great to know that this event will be making a difference and that the many thousands of pounds raised by the people who have slept out all night is already helping homeless people.

“Sleep Out has established itself as an important date in the Eden calendar and we are already thinking about next year’s event.”

Many volunteer fund-raisers who took part reflected on the harshness of just one night in the cold, damp air.

Andrew Drayton, from Crediton, Devon, said: “Even though we’ve been well looked after, have easy access to clean toilets and hot drinks, our stuff is safe and we are safe, this sucks.  Cold, tired, miserable and extremely uncomfortable but that’s the point. 300,000 people will have no choice but to do this again tomorrow.”

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