Cold comfort for volunteers at St Albans’ annual charity sleepout

PUBLISHED: 07:53 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 07:53 07 December 2017

The sleep-outers.

The sleep-outers.

Jeremy Banks Photography

Volunteers gathered on a frosty winter’s night in St Albans to sleep outside in aid of homelessness charities.

Frances Pardell. Frances Pardell.

The annual event was held at Oaklands College, having moved from its usual location at St Albans Abbey this year due to building work at the cathedral.

Participants arrived at 7pm on Friday, December 3, staying until 9am the following day to raise money and awareness for Herts Young Homeless (hyh), Centre 33, Emmaus and Open Door.

Seven people from business networking company Platinum Point took part as part of their year-long programme of fundraising for hyh, their charity of the year. They were joined after midnight by Ed Lawrence, from the company Business 
Film Booth.

Frances Pardell of Pardell PR, one of the Platinum Point ‘sleep-outers’, said: “There were some very young people who were sleeping out, and it was really quite lively until about midnight when people started to go to sleep.

Platinum Point sleep-outers from left to right: Mark Combes, Clare Combes, Frances Pardell, Mark Fellows, David Buckley, Dave Tree, Jon Phillips. Platinum Point sleep-outers from left to right: Mark Combes, Clare Combes, Frances Pardell, Mark Fellows, David Buckley, Dave Tree, Jon Phillips.

“It was really very jolly because it wasn’t absolutely freezing cold. We were all quite comfortable and we had snacks and some alcohol, which was not allowed so we were a bit naughty. We had the odd tipple to keep us warm.

“Just about everybody slept. Throughout the night they have people from the charities who give out tea, coffee, toast and biscuits, and there were indoor toilet facilities.

“It’s obviously not like the real deal even though we were sleeping outside. The amount of clothes I wore is ridiculous; I took everything but the bed.

“What it represented were people who Herts Young Homeless help every day. We have had tremendous support from lots of people and we are quite overwhelmed by how much money the group has raised.”

Deputy Mayor cllr Jamie Day, Terry Waite and Mayor Mohammad Iqbal Zia. Deputy Mayor cllr Jamie Day, Terry Waite and Mayor Mohammad Iqbal Zia.

More than 2,000 vulnerable people in Herts are homeless or at risk of becoming so, and £25 is enough for hyh to keep someone off the street for a night.

Platinum Point originally set a target of raising £500, but have managed to raise nearly £3,000 including Gift Aid.

Head of fundraising for Herts Young Homeless Kathryn Salmon said: “[The St Albans Sleepout] raises invaluable awareness and essential funds, at a time when the charity is seeing an increasing number of young people using their services.”

To donate to hyh visit https://www.hyh.org.uk/sponsoredsleepout

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