The Eden Project is urging people to bed down outside the Biomes to raise life-saving funds for homeless people.
On Thursday November 7 Eden is hosting the annual sponsored Sleep Out, with all money raised going to two South West charities, Amber Foundation and St Petrocs.
Sleep Out fundraisers will be given a cardboard sheet and a paper sleeping bag and then endure a cold, hard night knowing that their efforts make a vital difference.
This will be the sixth annual Sleep Out on the Eden site near St Austell in Cornwall. Last year’s event raised a record-breaking £20,000 for the two charities and helped ease the plight of hundreds of people without a permanent roof over their heads.
Sleep Out not only enables the charities to help their clients, it also shines a light on the perennial challenge of homelessness in Cornwall, Devon and across the UK.
Dave Brown, our Communications Manager said: “There’s a continual flow of people on to the streets. As soon as you help someone to find some accommodation, someone else takes their place.
“Last year our two resource centres re-housed 417 people, but the number of people forced to sleep rough on a typical night fell by just 15, from 68 to 53. There is a huge amount of work to be done.”
Last winter St Petrocs opened two pop-up night shelters, one in Penzance and the other in Truro. This meant 89 clients were able to come in from the cold and between them they accessed the service on 1,306 times over a combined 179 nights.
Dave said that nearly 70 per cent of all those who accessed St Petrocs were found more permanent accommodation through their own hard work, and that of staff, volunteers and partners who helped to run the projects.
He added: “Once again, Truro’s shelter received no direct funding and without partnerships with fantastic organisations like the Eden Project, our Truro shelter simply wouldn’t be able to operate.”
The Amber Foundation has three residential centres across the South and South West, including Ashley Court in Chawleigh near Crediton, Devon, where it helps unemployed homeless young people.
South West Fundraising Manager Rebecca Fry said: “Amber is thrilled to be working with Eden on Sleep Out again this year. The money raised will help fund our vital work with young people grappling with homelessness and unemployment at Ashley Court.
“Ashley Court provides a safe place to live for young people from across the region who otherwise would have nowhere safe to go.
“Alongside a bed and three meals a day, Amber provides a development programme designed to support our young residents to identify what has been holding them back and find ways to move forward positively and independently.
“Our ultimate aim is that every young person who turns to Amber moves on successfully – securing a job, training or place at university and most importantly a safe secure home of their own.”
Rebecca said that last year 162 young people moved on from Amber’s care with 67% doing so successfully, moving on to live independently.
She added: “Last year we had a record-breaking year at the Sleep Out and the sponsorship raised made a big difference to us. We used it to fund Christmas celebrations at Ashley Court, ensuring that young people from across the South West could celebrate the festive period.”
Dan James, Eden Project Development Director, said: “Amber Foundation and St Petrocs do so much good work for homeless people. Eden is proud to support this by hosting the Sleep Out for the sixth year running.
“There will be talks and live music, the chance to get together around a campfire and to make and share supper – so there’s an enjoyable evening to be had before bedding down on hard ground.
“There are plenty of places available at the moment so we urge everyone who wants to make a difference by supporting these great charities to sign up soon and start fundraising.”
Among the guests on the evening will be Raynor Winn, author of the The Salt Path, the best-selling book about becoming homeless and walking the South West coastline with her husband Moth.
Sleep Out is a nationwide event organised by the End Youth Homelessness (EYH), a national collaboration of grassroots charities and companies that provide vital support to homeless young people across the UK.
According to the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, an estimated 103,000 young people asked for help from their local council in 2017/18 because they were homeless or at risk of homelessness.
To register for the Eden Project event on November 7 click here.