Morgan shares her experiences and thoughts from this year’s successful St Albans Sleepout at Oaklands College, which raised over £11,000 for hyh.
“I took part in the Sleepout with my sister and my mum. We have taken part before -- this is my mum’s fourth year participating -- and it was, once again, an eye-opening experience with a great sense of community.
In total, we raised £958.75. We did this by sharing the link from our Virgin Giving page to friends, family and colleagues. Everyone one was really generous and supportive which we really appreciated as it is for a good cause.
During the build-up to the event, we prepared by gathering cardboard, sleeping bags, pillows and survival bags for the cold night ahead of us.
We went to Oaklands College at around 9pm on the 7th December and were greeted by the volunteers representing hyh. They talked us through what was going to happen during the night and guided us to where we would be sleeping. We set up our beds and headed into the hall to listen to a talk.
There were reps there from all of the charities taking part. hyh spoke to us about what they do and a young man, Ricky, whom the charity had helped, talked about his experience of homelessness which was very moving and inspiring.
What Ricky said was really touching and certainly gave me something to think about. Homelessness is something you see all around you but in all honesty can also be something that becomes less visible.
Listening to him made me stop and consider those people you see in doorways and begging for money, and made me really want to do more. I could see my mum was particularly touched by what he said.
She has volunteered in Scouting for the last few years and often talks about the young people she sees grow and change over the time she spends with them. Thinking about that age group being in difficulty and suffering strikes a chord.
Once the talk was over, we got some hot chocolate and a biscuit. Free hot drinks and soup were served by volunteers all night, which was nice because if you wanted to go inside you could.
We wrapped ourselves up in thermals and balaclavas and settled down for the night. We actually slept quite well apart from the slight drizzle and noise of the wind. In the morning, we were woken up at 6:30am and packed up our stuff, we put the cardboard in a big pile and went to collect our certificates.
Overall, it was a brilliant experience and gave us an insight into the circumstances of those less fortunate. We had the pleasure of going home to a warm bed but the homeless don’t know when that opportunity will come.
The event is really rewarding and we are really proud of ourselves for taking part for such a good cause, especially through these cold, winter months. I highly recommend others to join us next year!”
By Morgan Mitchell, aged 18