I was wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa, watching a marathon catch up of Eastenders (aka taking advantage of having custody of the tv remote!), while my husband Adam, son Josh and 2 lovely Quattro colleagues were out. In fact they were “out out’. Not at the pub or a nice restaurant in Birmingham. They were outside. Camping out for the night. Without a tent.
They were sleeping rough to raise funds for Redditch Nightstop, a local homeless charity, one of two charities being supported by Quattro Pensions this year.
This challenge was not for the feinthearted and not many signed up for it. In fact the coast to coast cycle ride from earlier in the year (involving 3 days of cycling!) attracted way more support. Only 4 (we have over 80 staff!) Quattro people signed up for it (1 had to withdraw due to illness), plus my son, Josh. I would have joined them but someone had to stay home with the dog 😁.
The forecast for the night was pretty rubbish. Rain, rain, rain….but on the plus side not too cold. My boys took their sleeping bags, cardboard boxes and sheets of tarpaulin and headed off into the night.
The event was taking place at a local football club, so completely safe and off the streets. I wouldn’t have let Josh go otherwise. They really did have it easy compared to those forced to spend their lives huddled in shop doorways. But they still found it incredibly tough.
The weather was kinder than expected and it certainly wasn’t as cold as it could have been. But their makeshift shelters weren’t conducive to sleep and no-one slept much that night. They were wet, cold and uncomfortable. Josh couldn’t even get inside his sleeping bag because his tiny shelter was too restrictive.
Then there were the noises. The sounds of the night kept them awake. Car and house alarms went off, waking them from their light sleep. Police sirens spooked them, it sounded like there was some major trouble kicking off outside the safety of the football ground.
They arrived home early the following morning, grateful for a warm shower, a bed and well stocked food cupboards. We take it for granted. For those living on the streets there is no such respite.
Redditch Nightstop provides emergency accommodation (homes of volunteers) to young people with nowhere to go, 16-25 year olds who would otherwise end up on the streets. They rely on lottery funding to keep the service going, but that only provides 60% of the amount needed. The rest comes from findraising and charitable donations.
Which is where we come in. Every little helps. Every pound makes a difference. This amazing charity needs your help. Please, please donate if you can 💔