Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Sleeping out for St Basil’s

February 10 2012
Supported housing projects benefit from one night in the open


On Friday, 2 December 2011, 350 of Birmingham’s finest gathered in a frosty car park wearing their warmest attire to take part in the 22nd annual St Basil’s sleep-out.

The charity provides support and accommodation to homeless young people. Based in Digbeth, they have 27 supported housing projects across Birmingham and a further three in Worcestershire.

The sleep-out has become a core part of the fundraising they rely on to provide vital support to 4,000 young people in the Midlands every year. It is fun and raises awareness of what homeless people go through every night. Lucy Hackett, head of fundraising at St Basil’s, explained that the money helps ensure that other young people do not have to spend a night on the street. It will go towards helping 16- to 25-year-olds who are homeless and provide individuals who are vulnerable and at risk with essential support and prevention services such as family mediation, housing aid and advice, and working to increase individuals’ confidence and aspirations. Along with the housing projects, St Basil’s provides a 24-hour helpline and ‘crash pads’ for those desperately in need of a place to sleep. Going forward, the young people are offered accredited learning, skills and work programmes in order to sustain the progress made.

Although all the participants had their own reasons for taking part in the sleep-out, everybody involved recognised the importance of what they were doing for such a valuable cause, especially in the winter months, when thoughts often turn to how hard it is living on the street. Iqra Hussain, from the young person’s charity ‘The Challenge’, wanted to “do something different and experience what it is like for the average homeless person sleeping on the street”. The event has inspired her organisation to carry out its very own ‘Sleep Out’ in February.

The event attracted local celebrities Ed James and his co-presenter Rachael New from Heart FM, which raised substantial funds by discussing and promoting the sleep-out on the show. The duo soaked up the atmosphere of the night and weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty in the shelter building competition!

Unfortunately, the people from the Welsh House Farm Community Project were unable to attend this year because of illness, but they were determined to raise some money. Lead by the project co-ordinator Jess Hobbs, they teamed up a couple of weeks later with a community group from Bourneville who had organised a ‘lock-in’ at the Pavilion. They raised money for St Basil’s, and had an eye-opening discussion about homelessness with the youths involved.

Adam Yosef, one of The Pavement’s newest recruits, has made a short film with footage from the event, which is available to view on Youtube - just search St Basils SleepOut 2011.