Arc’s seventh annual Big Sleep Out took place on Friday 11th June, and wow what a night! It was another virtual event, with participants sleeping out in the ‘comfort’ of their own gardens, sheds, and even hallways, to raise awareness and funds for those experiencing homelessness in Arc’s care.
The forecast a few days before promised a wonderful summer evening, but unfortunately, and as is always the way, the clouds came, and the drizzle and rain joined a few participants. We did not let that dampen our spirits though!
The evening of livestream entertainment began with Rosie and Alice, the Sleep Out organisers, introducing the event, followed by Justin, Arc's CEO, with a few hard-hitting facts about homelessness, to remind us of the importance of what we were doing. Participants were then introduced to Molly Lucille, a brilliant musician who performed several songs with just her voice and guitar. She spoke about the strange feeling of performing to a virtual audience with no cheers, but rather messages in a chat box cheering her on! Nonetheless, Molly sang and started the evening beautifully.
Next, we heard from Jordan, Arc’s Social Enterprise Manager. He has been speaking to one of Arc’s residents, called Trevor, to learn about his story and tell it to us all. The story was incredible, full of heartbreak and joy. Well done to Jordan for telling it in such a passionate way! We then met Andy from The Sangha House for a Qi Gong session. We were not sure how this would work out virtually, but it turns out it works really well, and we all felt much more relaxed after concentrating on our movements and breathing.
Following a thank you video from Arc staff and clients, we were joined by musician Sam Cockram for some amazingly laid-back songs. Sam was encouraged to perform one of his originals by the audience, and what a treat that was! Participants were then given answers to a quiz they were given on homelessness, reiterating the importance of our evening. We were then joined by Karen from Yoga in Somerset for some wonderful yoga exercises, allowing for even more relaxation. As the dark began to set in, Jordan joined us once more to tell us the bedtime story of the Velveteen Rabbit.
After damp and, for some, restless nights under the stars/clouds, a few participants joined Rosie, Alice, and Justin and his cat for a catch up on the Saturday morning. We discussed a few thoughts about sleeping outside we had had during the evening, such as the anxiety experienced, how you would keep your belongings safe, the lack of sleep, the cold and damp, and even where you might go to the toilet if you weren’t so close to your house! All of these are issues for those who have no choice but to sleep outside.
2021’s Virtual Big Sleep Out was a brilliant success, even though we weren’t all together in the car park yet again. We are so grateful for all of you who joined us, and well done for your hard work fundraising. A big thank you too to Claims Consortium Group who kindly offered to match the highest amount raised by a fundraiser! We are currently still counting the amazing donations, but will hopefully have a top fundraiser name soon!
To see all of the photos from this year's Big Sleep Out, please click here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=Arc.Homeless&set=a.10160382549610695
Looking to next year, we will have everything crossed to wish for our ‘normal’ Big Sleep Out to return. We hope you can join us!