In aid of our chosen charity of 2020, Devizes Opendoors, David Owen Associate Richard Hay and Partner Joe Bunton took part in a sponsored ‘sleep out’ at St Mary’s Church, Devizes on Saturday 11th January, raising an incredible £1,900 (and growing).
Relying entirely on donations for both money and food, Devizes Opendoors provides three cooked meals a week to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the Devizes community. It supports guests with issues related to shelter, financial difficulty and addiction, as well as mental and physical wellbeing, signposting its guests to specialist agencies to help rebuild their lives.
A group of 16 took part in the sleep out, mostly inside the church, but 6 people including Joe and Richard braved the elements and slept outside in the churchyard. The wind was howling and the rain was pouring. Understandably, neither of them enjoyed a good night’s sleep.
‘Although it was comforting to know we weren’t alone, you still felt quite vulnerable”, Richard said.
Unlike those suffering from homelessness, the sleep out participants could look forward to warm beds and hot showers waiting for them at home.
“It reminds you of the comforts you take for granted,” Joe commented. “The thing that kept us going was knowing it was only for one night – some people have no alternative.”
Joe and Richard left the experience feeling drained and tired, with a deeper understanding of what those facing homelessness go through. They were amazed by the generosity of clients, employees, family and friends, whose donations took them well beyond their initial fundraising goal of £300, hitting £1,900 instead.
‘Thank you to all our clients, employees, family and friends for their kind donations – each one will make a real difference’