With great excitement, the Alabaré events team headed up to North Wales and the infamous Gwrych Castle for their very first Welsh BIG Sleep event on Friday, 22nd April.
Determined to build on the success of previous Big Sleep events, such as the charity’s annual event at Salisbury Cathedral, the team with the kind support of the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, held the first Big Sleep at Gwrych Castle is one of the most talked-about tourist attractions since it hosted ITV’s “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!” for two consecutive years.
Over 50 people took part, bedding down on the cold, hard ground in front of the derelict castle, which is currently undertaking a huge restoration project. They were joined by Field Kitchen, an Alabaré social enterprise that delighted with their woodfired pizzas.
Bearing in mind the reputation for running challenges, participants were invited to take part in a series of team challenges which meant they could earn some notorious stars, rather like the celebrities did in the tv series. There was great hilarity and a great deal of competitiveness amongst the participants, while they also got a behind-the-scenes look at the castle and saw some of the sets used in the series.
The event was especially poignant as it aimed to raise awareness and funds for Alabaré’s Homes for Veterans. During the evening participants also heard from Alabaré clients and learned more about the difficulties for homeless veterans. Latest estimates indicate that between 100 and 400 veterans sleep rough every year and a further 3,000 to 4,000 face homelessness in cars, or derelict buildings – something no one should have to experience.*
This evening gave new supporters an opportunity to take part in the charity’s flagship event while raising funds to support veterans facing incredible difficulties following the pandemic and beyond. The event aims to raise tens of thousands for the charity and is generously sponsored by General Dynamics to ensure more of the money raised supports homeless and vulnerable veterans to come off the street and move towards independence.
Rebecca Mullen, Alabaré’s Fundraising and Development Manager said; “Rebecca Mullen, Alabaré’s Fundraising and Development Manager said; “This was the first time we have held the BIG Sleep in Wales and it was a great opportunity to support our Welsh veterans and spread the word on all that we do further afield. The castle, under the brilliant stewardship of Dr Mark Baker, and with the backing of ITV, was incredibly supportive and accommodating and we thank them enormously for letting us borrow the castle for the evening. We were able to replicate some of the challenges on the show, but we know the biggest was to sleep rough. We finished the night off by crowning the fabulous Kelly Roberts as our Queen of the Castle, as our top fundraiser on the night! It was heart-warming to see so many new faces and to share such a great event at such an incredible venue and thankfully the weather was kind. Thank you to everyone who got involved as together we take a stand against homelessness.”