Friday, November 11, 2016 - 12:15

Frosty night air, a chilly wind and beds of cardboard on hard ground greeted more than 100 hardy fundraisers last night at the third annual Sleep Out at the Eden Project.

The homelessness charities involved said that the amazing effort will raise many thousands of pounds to help save lives this winter.

Sleep Out is a nationwide event organised by the End Youth Homelessness (EYH) campaign, a national partnership of grassroots charities and companies that provides vital support to homeless young people. The national campaign aims to raise more than £500,000 for homelessness charities.

The aim at Eden was to raise as much as possible for two charities, Cornwall-based St Petroc’s Society and the Amber Foundation (EYH Southwest regional partner).

Corinna Langford, Community Relations Manager at St Petroc's, said today that participants had been very engaged in being part of a campaign that was making a massive difference.

She said: “Activities like this help to save lives. St Petroc’s gets no core funding for our winter night shelter. Last year’s Sleep Out at Eden helped us keep the shelter open and we saw 81 people access it last winter who would otherwise have been on the streets.

“This evening has also been about raising awareness. This is an amazing partnership which has engaged hundreds of people across Cornwall. It is all about community. We survive on the support we get from the community of Cornwall.”

Alison Williams, Fundraising and PR Manager for the Amber Foundation, said the End Youth Homelessness campaign brought more than half a million people together on one night in the most extraordinary way.

Alison said: “For Amber, this year’s Sleep Out has been the most successful in terms of numbers and fund-raising.   More people are asking more questions about homelessness and this is a great opportunity to let them know more about it.”

She said clients who attended the event benefited greatly in terms of increased self-esteem and confidence.

Veterans of the three annual Eden Sleep Outs agreed that last night’s was by far the chilliest yet, with early hours temperature hovering just above freezing. 

Some of Cornwall’s top talents volunteered to entertain Sleep Outers whose makeshift beds were laid out on tarmac in front of the famous Biomes.

Rising star Suzie Mac and her band brought a soulful touch with a great set early on and shortly before bedtime, top comic Ed Rowe – aka Kernow King – had them roaring in the freezing air with his own unique brand of wit and Cornish wisdom.

Eden organiser Jo Gale said: “The Eden Project is honoured to be one of the UK venues for the annual Sleep Out event. Very well done to everyone who took part, braving the elements to help raise awareness for the homelessness cause. Huge thanks to Suzie Mac and Kernow King and to Neil Caddy from Pirate FM for broadcasting live from the event enabling the experience to be shared by a wide audience.

"We can now all look forward to going home to our warm beds this evening but many people are not in this fortunate position. Homelessness is a growing issue and only by raising awareness can we begin to try and change this situation.”

Eden’s head chef Tony Trenerry and his talented team encouraged people to get involved by baking bread and making vegetable soup for everyone to eat together in the Eden Kitchen and around the campfire, sharing stories during this community-spirited event, now a firm fixture on the Eden calendar.