On Saturday 16th November this year, almost 200 representatives from local businesses will be bedding down under the stars at The Bournemouth Sports Club (Chapel Gate), near Bournemouth Airport, as part of YMCA Bournemouth’s ‘Big Sleep Easy 2019’.
The event is designed to raise awareness of local homelessness and fund projects that aim to keep individuals safe from homelessness over the long-term.
Building on the success of YMCA Bournemouth’s inaugural Big Sleep Easy in 2018, which saw 98 individuals from 23 local organisations build shelters out of cardboard boxes, sleep outside for a night and ultimately raise almost £25,000 towards the charity’s work, this year’s sponsored sleepout has already recruited over 120 fundraisers and over 40 local businesses are expected to enter a team.
Martin Stockley, Senior Operations Manager at YMCA Bournemouth, said: “Dorset businesses clearly take social responsibility seriously, and we are particularly impressed by the number of Dorset Chamber (DCCI) members happy to give up a night in the warmth of their homes to support some of the most vulnerable people in their community.”
The list of DCCI businesses already supporting the event includes Lester Aldridge LLP, Store and Secure, Preston Redman LLP, Nunet, Ouch Training, BrightBox Designs, A-One Insurance Group, Laceys Solicitors LLP, Humphries Kirk Solicitors LLP, Lewis Investment, SG Financial, TeamJobs, Homeline Mortgages, Marquee Elegance, Ward Goodman, Motley, REIDSteel, Hoburne Holidays, Life Matters, Biz Space, Ace Office Environments, Insure for Retirement, FC Douch & Son and Octima.
Inspired by the commitment of its members, Dorset Chamber CEO Ian Girling and others in the organisation are also backing the Big Sleep Easy. The DCCI team consists of Ian, board members James Robinson and Simon Boyd, plus Young Chamber Coordinator Joan Senior and Dorset Gateway Business Advisor Susannah Kennedy.
“No one should be sleeping on the streets in the 21st century and in fact this problem seems to be getting worse,” said Ian. “As a Chamber we are really keen to back the great work of YMCA Bournemouth in providing support for people experiencing homelessness and we are really pleased to be taking part in the Bournemouth Big Sleep Easy.”
Part of the event’s appeal is that spending a night outside in November links directly to the experience of the people it aims to help, with the obvious difference that the event takes place in a safe environment marked more by camaraderie than it is by the loneliness and insecurity experienced by the homeless.
Lester Aldridge solicitors are taking part for the second year running. Matthew Barrow, Managing Partner, said: “We all found it incredibly tough. It gave us a tiny glimpse of how hard it must be as a way of life. If you are considering taking part this year, we’d really encourage you to do so – we’ll certainly be there!”
There’s still plenty of time to get involved, and YMCA Bournemouth make doing so a simple process, so if you are interested in joining other local businesses in making a difference to the local community, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sheena Dayman on 07824 333505.