The homeless outreach groups organised a fundraising event where we were sponsored to sleep out for a night in Birmingham. There were more than 20 of us who met up and we began by doing an outreach session of handing food, drinks and clothes out to people on the streets. My group came across around 30 people and we didn’t get back to base camp until about 11pm. The plan was then to give out jacket potatoes which had been made by two men from out of town who volunteered their services, which was very kind of them.
Ranjit had brought all the beds from Impact Hub in his car, which we were going to use then pass on to people there. This is the pile of them in the tent we used for storage.
We finally got to settle down in the underpass at around 2am. We were joined by a number of homeless people as well but with so many people there, the noise was pretty much constant and it was hard to get any sleep. In fact, only one of our group did sleep, which was on a card bed!
I was pleased to actually get a proper chance to test one out as well and with my sleeping bag and temperatures of around 10ºC, I am happy to announce that I wasn’t at all cold and I even had to take off my thermal socks as my feet were too hot! It was windy that night but we were more or less sheltered in our spot.
We were due to be there till 6am but after people didn’t get any sleep and some people didn’t have beds so were shivering on the ground, we decided to pack up at 5am and drove back home to finally go to bed properly.
It was a useful experience to see what it’s really like to be on the streets, however, and I’m glad to know that the beds really do have a positive impact.