Sleepout at St Albans Abbey was started by The Revd (now The Ven) Paul Hackwood when he was social responsibility adviser to the Diocese of St Albans in the 1990s and has gone from strength to strength since then.
It is a ‘joint venture’ between St Albans Abbey and the Diocese who between them create an event in which homeless charities based in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Luton and Barnet can take part. The charities encourage their supporters to get sponsorship to sleep out for a night under the stars which gives people a taste of what homeless people experience as well as raising funds. The Abbey makes an area available in its grounds where supporters pitch camp for the night, taking up temporary residence in an assortment of cardboard boxes, survival bags and plastic sheets. These are ranged around the walls of the Abbey in small (and not so small) huddles. There is a great atmosphere of camaraderie, although there is a also a strict ‘lights out’ time after which talking, singing, playing music and other noise is frowned upon.
The numbers of sponsored supporters varies a bit from year to year, but can be as many as 400 and the annual total raised is usually above £40,000, sometimes over £50,000.
Though this sounds like a lot of money and it does represent tremendous generosity from donors as well as the great commitment of the sleepers, it doesn’t go very far as the scale of homelessness and rough sleeping is increasing in our society. This is nowhere made plainer that from the simple fact that whereas there were six local charities that took part in the early days of Sleepout, there are now often ten or twelve – this year there are eleven.
For more detailed information please down load the ‘Dear Friend’ letter. The other downloadable documents listed below will hopefully provide all you need:
Welcome to Sleepout Letter – Dear Friend. 2016
How to donate – donation. 2016
A Form for those bringing young people – names of young people form 2016
Individual Registration Form – Registration form 2016
Last year, the annual Sleepout at St Albans Abbey to raise money for charities helping homeless people, was held on Friday 4th December.
It was the 22nd Sleepout and raised £53,664 in support of 11 charities. With just over 400 people sleeping out, the third highest number in the history of the event, nearly half were under 18 yrs.