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Sleep Out 2019 - Thanks to all. St Edmunds School 19th October, 2019 - Rotary Club of Canterbury Sunrise

Sleep Out 2019 - Thanks to all. St Edmunds School 19th October, 2019

Saturday 19th October 2019 – St. Edmunds School, Canterbury A distinctly cold night lay in store when 30 ‘influencers’ from the Canterbury area arrived around 5pm to be handed some cardboard and participate in SleepOut 2019 for Porchlight.

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Saturday 19th October 2019 – St. Edmunds School, Canterbury

A distinctly cold night lay in store when 30 ‘influencers’ from the Canterbury area arrived around 5pm to be handed a few old cardboard boxes, kindly donated from local businesses, Bike Tart and Go Outdoors, a roll of packing tape some plastic to act as a ground sheet. Much hilarity followed as shelters were constructed with various degrees of success regarding style and efficiency.

Hot soup and bread rolls, served outside in the elements, provided warmth and sustenance before hearing from Porchlight Trustees how the awareness building and funds raised from this event will help their work over the coming months. A ceremonial planting of Purple Crocus corms by members of the Rotary Club of Canterbury Sunrise, followed to highlight Rotary’s work to End Polio Now.

All then huddled inside the old gym, which felt even colder than outside, to watch the 1960’s film, Cathy Come Home, directed by Ken Loach, about homelessness. This combined with hearing Porchlight service user Becky’s story, in her own words, added real resonance to the evening.

After a very few hours of sleep, all awoke to the sounds of Anna-Louise broadcasting live on BBC Radio Kent from 6am, having spent the ‘worst night of her life’ in a cardboard box, followed by a very welcome hot breakfast.

Many new friendships were formed, all experiencing the lovely atmosphere, exchanging stories about each person’s motivation for taking on this challenge, understanding that so many lives will be transformed because of this Sleep Out.

Money is still being collected – so far around £24,000! This sum which will have an extraordinary impact. It could pay for a rent deposit for 48 people like Becky who are moving into their own place after finding their feet in a Porchlight hostel. Or 150 days of work by a Rough Sleeper Worker, helping people off the streets and into a safe and stable home. Or nearly 5,000 calls to Porchlight’s Helpline which is there for people who have nowhere else to turn, and is often the first step for people to turning things around.

Message from Rachel van Hoven, Community Fundraising Manager of Porchlight:

As well as a huge thank you to everyone who took part, we'd like to say a sincere thank you to: St Edmunds School for providing a great location for the event; The University of Kent for donating the refreshments and supper, McDonalds for donating breakfast, Orla for entertaining us with wonderful music during dinner, Becky for inspiring us with her story and last but not least The Rotary Club of Canterbury Sunrise for paving the way and having all the know-how, kit and man power. It was a pleasure to work with you all.

Members of the Rotary Club of Canterbury Sunrise worked with Porchlight for our third triennial Sleep Out. We echo the thanks to all concerned, detailed by Rachel, above.