The night of 7 December saw 22 individuals brave the elements and sleep out at St. Albans Abbey on behalf of hyh, raising over £2,000 to date, with more money to come in from sponsorship. They were part of a group of 277 sponsored sleepers that took part in the annual event which will celebrate its 20th year in 2013.


104 of the participants were under the age of 18, including Leon Otchi, pictured here with his mother Marie (and his penguin companions!).

hyh’s own Becki Warren took part and found the night a lot tougher than expected, even with the luxury of food and drink, toilet facilities and lots and lots of layers. Reflecting on her experience, she says “It has opened my eyes to what a frightening and uncomfortable experience genuine homelessness would be and I am so glad I took part.”

Daniel Gray, Bex Long, Matt Warren & Becki Warren

Despite the cold conditions, Bex Long would definitely take part in the Sleep-Out again. She says “I have every intention of participating again in the future and would encourage others to take part. It was a smooth process in terms of registering at the event and knowing what was going on.”

Other fundraisers included James Bulow, ‘Friends Of’ member Theo and her youth group, Marie Kemplay from Vinspired and Stuart Bishop from St. Mary’s Church in Welwyn Garden City. A team from hyh’s community partner for 2012, John Lewis (Watford), participated too, along with Davina King who was also celebrating her birthday on the night!

Marie Kemplay was keen to get involved – “I wanted to raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness and also raise money to help support young people at risk of experiencing homelessness. I think it’s a really important issue.”


The team from John Lewis (Watford) – Hannah Johnston, Rachael Wood, Lee Hurley & Matt McKay

Theo and her youth group – Felicity Muyambi, Rufaro Ndagura, Tafadzwa Gweza, Tariro Gweza, Gamuchirai Gweza, Wadzanai Chamboko & Kudakweshe Musabayana

We are hoping to reach our pledge of £3,700; the money raised will undoubtedly provide invaluable support for young people who face the bleak reality of sleeping on the streets on a regular basis.

Thanks to all that took part, as well as everyone who has sponsored our sleepers.

See you next year!

Please can you send sponsorship money to Becki Warren no later than Friday 18 January. Please make cheques payable to ‘Herts Young Homeless Group’ and send it to 1st Floor, Gracemead House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 8HX.