It was with great excitement that the Alabaré events team resumed their in-person events with their BIG Sleep at The Tower of London last Friday night 22nd October. Determined to build on the success of previous Big Sleep events, such as the charity’s annual event at Salisbury Cathedral, the team choose, with the kind support of the Tower of London team, to hold this, the UK’s first and perhaps only, Big Sleep event at this iconic location.
Never before has the public been invited to sleep in the Tower grounds. On Friday over 180 people took part, bedding down along the cobbles on the wharf in front of the infamous Traitor’s Gate. They were joined by a team of Yeoman Warders who delightfully entertained with stories, historical facts, and photo opportunities throughout the evening.
The event was especially poignant as it aimed to raise awareness and funds for Alabaré Homes for 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 experience. 
During the evening, participants heard stories from Alabaré’s clients and learned more about the needs of homeless veterans. Big Sleepers also heard from The Governor of the Tower of London, who explained a little about the Tower’s history, and took part in a Yeoman Warders Quiz before hearing from Reverend Canon Roger Hall, Deputy Priest in Ordinary to HM the Queen and Imam Asim Hafiz, Imam to the British Armed Forces, who each provided poignant blessings to mark the event.
Alabaré were delighted to be joined by seasoned Big Sleepers representing Aspire Defence Services Ltd and Sodexo in Larkhill and Warminster, who have taken part in eight Big Sleep events over the years.
This event gave supporters from further afield an opportunity to take part, including some who travelled from as far as Durham and Northern Ireland to offer their support, while raising funds to support those facing incredible difficulties during the pandemic and beyond. So far over £85,000 has been raised, with more anticipated.
Andrew Lord Alabaré’s Chief Executive said;
“Thank you to all our supporters for taking part in the BIG Sleep at The Tower of London on Friday night. Without you, we cannot do the work to support veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It was a privilege for The Big Sleep to be at the Tower of London, an amazing location. Thank you to Andrew Jackson, Governor, and his team for help making it a very successful evening.”
Amanda Foster who has taken part in several Big Sleeps says;
“It almost seems wrong to say that I enjoyed this event because I only had to sleep out for one night, whereas many people unfortunately have to do this night in night out, not just through summer evenings but the cold harsh wet winter evenings, but it makes you think, it makes you pause, it makes you reset.”
Alabaré would like to thank everyone who took part in the Big Sleep and thank the Tower of London team for the opportunity to host their event at this iconic venue, and for all their support.
Here, you can find all the latest news stories from across the Aabaré services dedicated to homeless adults, young people, veterans and those with learning disabilities.