Well, around a year ago, a number of events were set in motion. A church notice here, a pub conversation there, and before we knew it, both Church Sofa lads found themselves at the Exeter YMCA Sleepeasy event. The YMCA sleepeasy events are to help fight against homelessness, by having the participants raise money by sleeping in cardboard boxes for a night. Whilst one of us didn’t bother trying to sleep, the other found themselves climbing inside a cardboard box for the night.
The following post from last year was started in a cardboard box:
It’s approaching two in the morning of the YMCA Sleepeasy event, and I’m tired. Yet I didn’t really fancy the idea of bed. Maybe it was the light, maybe the noise, perhaps it was the idea of trying to clamber into my “house” that you can see on the right hand side.
So, I kick off my boots, lean down, drag my sleeping bag out, just to see my loving crafted house fall to pieces on me. Leaving the bigger box standing, feeling uninspired to start again I wiggle into place. I lay down, very aware of the concrete underneath, shuffling around trying to blot out the light in front of me, leaning to my side… I’m aware of a church tower somewhere chiming that its two in the morning.It was at this point that I realised, that I was now more awake than I was when this whole box thing started. More photos were taken, tweets were read, web pages scanned, and I opened my eyes again.Before I knew it, that church tower was chiming for three o’clock.At somepoint after three I went back to sleep “properly”. At somepoint I closed my eyes, and drifted off.
It was at 4:49 when I woke up. Rain thundering down on the shelter over us, my nose well and truly blocked up, and very aware I was in a cardboard box.
Very awake, very aware I was in a cardboard box, and oddly angry at the injustice of people needing to wake up like this. As I was laying there wondering what to do between actually getting up, and having breakfast, I wondered how we all got into a state where we accepted the fact that people have no choice but sleep rough on our streets, scared and sleep deprived, simply existing from one moment to the next
It all made me wonder how long I could survive on naff all sleep, spending my time waiting for something to happen.
Look, I’m not going to say that the SleepEasy event was anything really like sleeping rough for any length of time: For starters we were secure, we had people awake and watching over us, bacon rolls, there was a shelter over our heads, and we knew that no matter how long the night was, we had a home to go back to.
If you get a chance, look out for SleepEasy events next year, and have a sample of what it’s like waking up in a box.
That was last year. This year its happening again! Can you join us to sleep under the stars and help raise funds to support Exeter YMCA’s work with young people?
According to the Exeter YMCA website: Music and other entertainment during the evening will make sure you have a great time and food and hot drinks will be available. All you need to do is make sure you’re well wrapped up!
We ask everybody to do their best to raise a minimum of £50 – most people raise much more. All funds raised will go towards Exeter YMCA’s vital work providing 15,000 nights’ accommodation and support each year to homeless young people in Devon. We don’t pretend this will give you a real rough sleeping experience (after all you will be entertained, fed and kept safe), but we do promise you a night you will remember for a long time. And your efforts will make a real difference to the lives of homeless young people in Devon.
So are you up for getting your own cardboard box memories?
Check out sleepeasyexeter.org.uk for more information