Friday, November 7, 2014 - 13:44

Solid ground, driving rain and chilly air was the not-so-warm welcome for hardy fund-raisers who took to sleeping bags on cardboard mats to raise money for homeless people at the Eden Project last night. 

Twenty-seven people took part in the Sleep Out event outside the famous Eden Biomes with only the shelter of an awning keeping off the torrential downpours.

For the first time, Eden joined forces with the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, which provides vulnerable 16-25 year-olds with a safe place to stay and support to find a home and a job.

Eden was one of 12 locations for the Sleep Out event taking place throughout the UK.  Money raised will support some of the 80,000 young people who experience homelessness in the UK every year.

Locally, Eden linked up with St Petroc’s Society and the Amber Foundation, one of Centrepoint’s regional ‘End Youth Homelessness’ charity partners. 

Among guests during the evening leading up to the Sleep Out were St Petroc’s clients who gave the fund-rasiers compelling insights into the realities of sleeping out.

Judith Dumbrell, director of finance at St Petroc’s, has been with the society for a year and was on her first sleep out, managing just an hour’s sleep in the cold night air.

Judith said:  “What made an impression on me was the discomfort of sleeping on a hard surface on a night that was relatively mild – and we were undercover.

“This event has helped all of us who are taking part understand more about the lives of people who don’t have a nice warm bed to climb into every night. This is a great event to raise awareness and also some funds.”

Peter Stewart, executive director of the Eden Project, said:  “As a charity ourselves, Eden is proud to join up with homelessness charities to host Sleep Out. From a personal point of view grabbing a few hours on a hard floor on a rainy night gives a little insight into the plight of people who have to endure conditions like this day after day and that is a humbling experience.”

Alison Williams, fund-raising and PR manager for Amber Foundation, said: “All our clients are homeless when they come to us.  It’s a hidden problem. As charities we need profile in the community.  Sleep Out helps raise awareness and change perceptions. People who are not homeless have had a chance to meet some who are and by spending the night in the open air, have some idea of what they experience in their lives.”

Participants in Sleep Out at Eden could choose to support one of three charities:

•    St Petroc’s Society - On average the under 25s make up approximately 35 per cent of the homeless population in Cornwall. St Petroc's exists to provide a diverse range of services for these people.  They provide accommodation, support, advice, training and resettlement services. Within resources available, they strive to provide the best quality of service possible. Their primary aim is to provide these services to people aged 16 - 65 years and for whom no provision is made within the community, either statutory or otherwise.

•    Amber Foundation - Amber offers a supportive and nurturing environment where young people, whose lives have gone badly wrong, can recover their self-esteem and learn respect for others, as well as other important life skills. Amber helps their residents to think through what they wish to achieve, and provides practical help and advice on how to reach these goals. The very low re-offending rate among Amber’s former residents is just one sign of their success.  Amber provides 24-hour care and support every day of the year and whilst the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, their programme is carefully structured and tailored to the individual.

•    End Youth Homelessness - End Youth Homelessness (EYH) is a Centrepoint led movement bringing together youth homelessness charities from across the UK. EYH charities support over 12,000 homeless young people in communities across the UK.

Sleep Out participants can raise money to help fund an inspirational day out at the Eden Project for homeless young people supported by End Youth Homelessness (EYH).

Young people will come as part of Eden’s ‘Great Day Out’ programme. The programme aims to introduce them to a positive future, engaging them through the sights and sounds of Eden, inspirational stories, hands-on workshops such as cooking and gardening, and team-building activities that aim to develop confidence, self-esteem, health and well-being. The programme is simply about enjoying a day out somewhere beautiful, and being treated with the respect we all deserve.

All funds raised for the ‘Great Day Out’ programme will be administered by the Eden Project and will benefit young people from across EYH charities. Further information on the charities involved in EYH can be found at