30 Sep 2020

Sleep Out to Help Out!

Like everything else, the Big Calderdale Sleepout is going to look a little different this year...

Covid-19 has presented so many challenges for so many people. I still can’t believe it’s really happening and I’m sure I’m not on my own. It’s made it so clear that we, as humans, are very clever at adapting. We’ve adapted to a completely different way of life in such a short amount of time. We can be resilient.  We’ve shown the capacity to get back up and carry on, over and over again. We can be diverse. We can solve problems. We can find new ways to do things.  

When we were first locked down, the entire team at SmartMove took a 'what can I do to help' approach. We saw a huge rise in demand for our services. For food parcels, emergency housing support, prescription delivery and mental health support, and the team more than rose to the challenge.

For us behind the scenes, we had to completely rethink how we could raise the money needed to keep SmartMove going this year. None of us were sure how long the situation might last, but in the short term we had to cancel some events, look to grants as alternative funding, try to diversify our existing funding streams and look at new ways of saving money. Now, here we are on the first day of October, and things look to be getting worse before they get better. We’ve had to cancel all events for the rest of the year and, just like everybody else, we’ve got no idea when this nightmare might come to an end.

Our biggest event of the year, The Big Calderdale Sleepout, was due to take place on Saturday 10th October which is World Homeless Day. There’s no way we could safely go ahead at the Piece Hall in Halifax like we usually do, but once again we’ve adapted and come up with something new. We’re asking people to sleep out anywhere – whether that’s in their own back garden, on the sofa, the living room floor, or somewhere even more creative!

Last year’s Sleepout raised £65,000.00 for the charity and whilst we don’t expect to raise nearly that much this year with people facing financial uncertainty and the event itself not going ahead as normal, we still wanted to create a unified event to mark World Homeless Day and to raise awareness.

We want people to experience just one night without their nice, comfy bed. We want them to think about how so many of our clients feel without somewhere to feel safe and warm, with no home to go back to in the morning. Nowhere to get warm and dry, to have a shower and a hot drink, and no idea where they’ll spend the next night. We want people to really gain an understanding as to what all of that might feel like. 1 in 3 of us could face homelessness within just 8 weeks if we were to lose our job. This growing problem affects more people than you might think and unfortunately, the situation is likely to get worse as the full financial and economic effects of the pandemic starts to be felt 

This event isn’t just for adults, we usually have lots of children and young people taking part in the event at the Piece Hall. No tablets, phones or computers to play with and a renewed sense of gratitude in the morning! We’ll be creating some child-friendly material to share with your small people on the night of the event. It’s a really valuable life lesson for them to learn.

Let’s show our clients and others like them that Calderdale cares about them. As always, we’re so grateful for the support.  

Beth