Over 200 brave participants joined us on Friday evening to sleep out on the cold hard floor of the Cathedral cloisters, all in the name of ending homelessness. This annual event also celebrated its fifteenth year at the Cathedral which raises vital funds for Alabaré’s work with the homeless and vulnerable within the local Wiltshire community.
Despite the bitterly cold weather and snow last week and temperatures of minus 2 degrees, no one was put off with everyone coming together to learn more about homelessness and to learn how vital fundraising can help. Over 180 young people from schools included many from St Joseph’s, Stonehenge School, Bishops Wordsworth and Wyvern St Edmund’s. Reverand Stella Wood, Chaplain at Bishops Wordsworth School, said, “I think it’s really important to bring school children to events like this as they have a huge heart for social justice and often feel that they can’t change anything, and this event shows them that they can.”
There were also teams from Sodexo, HSBC, and Haine and Smith Opticians among others. Haine and Smith, who chose to support Alabaré as their charity of the year last year, said, “The fact that we were able to provide eye care to homeless people through Alabaré last year and that our patients were able to donate old glasses is just amazing, and we’ve since found out that we’ve got friends who have supported this sleep out for five years or more. It’s just amazing”.
The sight and the impact of so many sleeping bags laid out for the evening provided a sombre yet heartwarming message to the event and clearly demonstrated the depth of feeling people have when considering those who sleep out not for one night but sometimes many more. Alabaré runs several homes in Salisbury, Chippenham, Trowbridge, and Devizes, so monies raised will make a vital difference in what continues to be a difficult time for fundraising activity.
Following a welcome address from The Very Reverend Nick Papadopulus, Dean of Salisbury Cathedral, who also slept out for the evening, everyone enjoyed a terrific and energetic musical performance from the Fijian Assembly GB Choir. This year’s event was also greatly supported by local caterers who ensured warm beverages, snacks and breakfast were provided for those who made it through the extreme temperatures. Rebecca Mullen, Fundraising and Events Manager, added, “Once again, it’s lovely to be back at the cathedral this year who have supported us for so many years now. It was heartwarming to see so many get involved once again which, together with the support from McDonald’s, Salisbury Street Food and Boston Tea Party, helped make the event. Finally, I would also like to shout out to Wilson’s Solicitors, Salisbury and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Sarum Vision, who provided much-needed sponsorship to underpin the costs of putting on the event.”
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