The Big Sleepout is an annual event that is run by Trinity Homeless Projects, a Charity event where hundreds of people all come together to sleep in a cardboard box in the middle of a car park for one night and this year it took place on Friday 1st December. Thousands of pounds were raised to support not only the charity but everyone participating in the event on that freezing December night.
What happens on the night?
Arrival is around 6pm, when you get to the venue you grab your box and start to set up; putting your sleeping bag, blankets and anything else that you brought to keep yourself warm. Once you feel that your home for the night has been made, you head over to the stage where there are many speakers including celebrity guest Russell Brand.
This year, DJ Brandon Block threw us all a party and everyone was up and dancing mainly having a good time but also to try and keep ourselves warm by moving around. From arrival until just before midnight there is food and drinks served; burgers and hot dogs to mulled wine and hot chocolate. The first four hours of this event are packed with a range of entertainment for all from live poetry to a video diary room.
Once midnight hits all lights and music is shut off and everyone crawls into their boxes for the next six hours. Layers upon layers of clothing, sleeping bags and blankets where still not enough to keep us warm. I fell asleep at around 1am to wake up every single hour hoping that it was time to get up and go home to get in bed and sleep for the rest of the day, but unfortunately the time went incredibly slow, not only did the cold and uncomfortable box keep me awake but the noise of the outside, the wind, slight sound of traffic in the distance and other peoples soft chatter surrounded me for the six ours that I laid in that cardboard box.
Waking up at 6am was exciting, there is a fun atmosphere as soon as you get out of your box, music is playing, bacon sandwiches are being served, but nearly everyone is more interested in getting all of their belongings and boxes packed up so they can leave and get home to get straight into bed.
With my sleeping bags packed and on my back I left at around 6:30 to get home. As I walked to the car all I could think about is how lucky I really am and I don’t even realise it, I was on my way home after sleeping in a box for six hours, when homeless people wake up they have no warm house and bed to go home to. The big sleepout is an eye opener of an event; I had such a great time and will certainly be doing it again this year. It was something I will never forget.