Meet some of the local businesses sleeping rough to raise awareness of homelessness

YMCA’s annual sleep out will return to Lincolnshire for a 10th year this Friday, along with the support of local businesses.

YMCA Lincolnshire hosts its Sleep Easy event at Lincoln Cathedral each year, in a bid to raise awareness and funds for homelessness across the county and beyond.

Since 2010 more than 6,000 people have slept rough for a night across the UK, raising money which supports local YMCA services.

Photo: Through The Lens

More than 60 local people slept out in the grounds of Lincoln Cathedral in March last year, braving rain and bitter cold, and YMCA Lincolnshire has confirmed 100 people have signed up for the event, including a number of local businesses.

The 2019 event will take place at Lincoln Cathedral from 7pm on Friday, March 15 until 7am the next day.

Find out why these local businesses are getting involved with the event this week:


JHWalter

Simon Smith, Residential Property Manager and Partner at JH Walter told CityX: “As a trustee for YMCA Lincolnshire in its 150th year we agreed as a board that those who could would all take part in the Sleep Easy, so you might say we press ganged ourselves into it. A further reason for doing it is that as a business we have chosen YMCA Lincolnshire as our charity for 2019 in celebration of its 150th year.

“As for having done anything like this before I can certainly say I have not. Put it this way, my idea of camping is a lodge at Center Parcs!

“I am hoping to get just an inkling of some of the realities that face the homeless every night and of course raise funds for a truly crucial facility.

“It is so important to raise awareness of homelessness, as this is not an issue that is going away.

“The latest statistics recorded that the number of rough sleepers in Lincolnshire rose 225% between 2010 and 2018 and between October 2017 and October 2018 more than 260 people accessed YMCA Lincolnshire’s Nomad Shelter on Monks Road.

“So not only are we trying to raise awareness, just as importantly we are helping to raise funds to enable the construction of a new purpose built emergency overnight accommodation for the most vulnerable people in our city. The Nomad Centre will upgrade and replace YMCA Lincolnshire’s Nomad Shelter on Monks Road.”

Simon Smith is the Residential Property Manager and a Partner at JH Walter in Lincoln.

Langleys Solicitors

Rachel Bacon, Solicitor at Langleys, will also be taking part, she said: “Langleys are members of Business Womens Link, an organisation that strives to celebrate and promote Women in Business around Lincolnshire. Kate Hindmarch and Jessica Eyley from Langleys Solicitors are on the Working Group and are responsible for all the events BWL host, BWL have chosen the Lincolnshire YMCA as their chosen charity for the coming year.

“A few have had camping experience but nothing like this!

” We want to show the real struggles of being homeless. We have the luxury of being able to take everything we need to be able to keep warm and dry, when the reality is many don’t have the basic equipment for this. It will be a real eye opener!

“To raise awareness of homelessness, and to challenge the stigma is absolutely vital in trying to tackle this problem.

“Those from Langleys and BWL are proud to be able to help raise awareness and raise money for this fantastic charity and to help them reach their goal.”

Hays Specialist Recruitment

Alexandra Turner, Senior Consultant at Hays Specialist Recruitment added: “We decided to take part in the event after I thought it would be good to support a local charity and take part as it’s the 10th Sleep Easy.

“I have supported other charities in the past and it is something I like to do at least once a year.

“There has been more and more homeless people in Lincoln and after I watched ‘A Street cat named Bob’ – such a beautiful story based on real life, I came into work and asked Katie, Danielle and Saffronn if they wanted to take part in it too, so that we could all do it together to raise money and awareness. Thankfully they said yes.

“We have never done this before although Danielle is ex-military so we feel as though we have someone who has faced adversity and tough conditions. We are hoping that she will rally our spirits on the night if the weather is extreme and we will all spur each other on, after all it is one night and for some people this is what they face day in day out. After all we are all doing this to raise money and awareness.”

Stokes

Nick Peel, Managing Director at Stokes Tea and Coffee said: “I think it is really important to understand what it is like to be homeless. This is a fantastic initiative to highlight an issue which effects thousands of people across the country and for me personally, something I really want to support.

“I’ve never done anything like this before and I know that I am going to find it very hard. I haven’t even camped under canvas before!

Nick Peel. Photo: Steve Smailes for CityX

“I am expecting the opportunity to understand. We can’t help, if we don’t first understand.

“This is hugely important to me. Nobody should have to sleep rough in the 21st century.

“It’s hard to accept that it happens and it’s easy just to walk on by and ignore the issue which is why I want to get involved in this initiative and try to help in any small way I can.”

Protocol

Ian Sackree, Chief Executive of Protocol said: “Like so many others I feel passionate about reducing homelessness in our city. Everyone needs a firm base in life, without one then all other add-ons such as employment, health, education and social become so much more difficult and even impossible! I am a Trustee of YMCA Lincolnshire and the Nomad and am proud to volunteer to try and make a difference.

“I have done this once before and found it to be very thought provoking about the plight of homeless people.

“I certainly don’t want to pretend or portray that I could know what it feels like to be homeless; this is not the purpose of the event. But we should raise the issue as a discussion topic in every household and business if we believe (and I do!) that we are all only three payslips away from being in such a difficult position ourselves.

“Homelessness is one of the biggest challenges our society faces today. It affects people of all ages and backgrounds and is happening in every town and city and too many people are crossing the road to by-pass these human beings in need of some basic life support.”

Pin Gin

Amy Conyard of Pin Gin, another business involved with the 2019 campaign, told CityX: “We are fortunate enough to be in a position where we have a roof over our head and food on the table, our aim is to raise funds and awareness for those people who are not so lucky.

“We intend to run a campaign through our social media channels and also we intend to have a set period of time in the build up to the Sleep Easy where we will donate an amount for every bottle of Pin Gin sold.”