St. Mary's Byfleet Sleepout Challenge
Robbie and Lee took part in the St. Mary’s Byfleet Sleepout Challenge - here are a few of their musings from their eyeopening experience:
My experience with Lee outside was an overwhelming experience which sends your brain into overdrive on things we haven’t considered before.
Things like worrying how much the temperature will drop too, worrying about someone/people coming along to either disturb us or the possibility of someone tasking your belongings, to be honest the thought process starts off quite selfishly in a sense of worry for yourself, as you go through the process you become much more selfless in way of thinking, you consider who do people do this regularly, how do they deal with he same issues we considered and why is there not enough help for these people who sleep rough and how on earth can they do this regularly as one evening is extremely challenging.
Some of the other things you don’t realise until you go through sleeping rough is how incredibly uncomfortable it is to sleep or try to sleep on a cold concrete floor half on and of a cardboard box with an incredibly thin sleeping bag, the sleeping part of the process didn’t go as I hoped, I thought that once asleep that would be it until the morning, I’m afraid not. Of course there are the normal outside noises including cars throughout the night were annoying however, some of the most frustrating noises are things like the rain drops off the gutter imitating a grandfather clock, or the wind swirling and bashing against the porch. All in all we slept I would guess 30 mins out of an hour with waking up either from pain in your hip, lower back or just woken up due to the extreme cold.
Speaking as someone who’d just slept the entire night outside on cardboard, Lee commented ‘one of the hardest things is the mental side of it - feeling you’ve been let down somehow -‘
Robbie was invaded by a Daddy longlegs on his face at one point and both men commented ‘the chill really gets inside into your sleeping bag’
Rector John opted for a night in the warmth of the Church - comparative luxury- in the choir area, and was struck by the ‘wild and wooly’ feeling of being surrounded by unusual noises, as well as the road noise. Certainly a different experience of Church!
7am the next morning, the team were treated to a truly fabulous and very welcome cooked breakfast
Overall the team raised over £600 for the Church Urban fund!
Sponsorship funds are still coming in, we smashed our original target of £250, we may well make £700, and that would get St Mary’s close to being 100% up on 2017 in terms of outward giving to good causes!
This experience was an eye opener and for anyone wanting to understand the life of someone without a home, I would strongly recommend it but make sure you are safe and warm!