With Sleep Out 2019 drawing ever nearer, we look at the reason we encourage people to sign up and get sponsored – supporting young people like Lydia. She shared her story with us, as well as her thoughts on why the Sleep Out grows in popularity each year.
Lydia came to Step by Step last year following a family breakdown. She had very little confidence and struggled with depression on a daily basis. The absence of positive role models in her life meant she was unsure how to manage self-care, cook or clean. She didn't know where to start with turning her life around.
“Some days my depression and mood was so low I couldn't get out of bed. I just wasn't able to face the day.”
Fortunately, we were able to offer Lydia the support she needed. As well as providing her foyer accommodation, Step by Step staff helped her learn life skills and build her confidence. She embraced the support offered to her, including one-to-one sessions to improve her Maths and English and ready her for work.
This year, Lydia was able to get a job at a local supermarket. She enjoys dance and has performed in front of large audiences on several occasions. She now comes across as self-assured and positive about the direction her life is heading. With Lydia looking forward to the next step of independent living, we are extremely proud of how she has been able to turn things around with our support.
Lydia attended the Sleep Out last year, where she made a fantastic impression by taking to the stage to speak of her experiences, and by wearing a monkey onesie.
“The Sleep Out gives you an experience of what it's like to sleep on the street,” Lydia told us, before adding: “It was very cold, even with my onesie!”
She is planning on sleeping out again this year and has advice to those who are on the fence about signing up: “Just do it! It's really fun and it helps to raise awareness.”
Sleep Out 2019 takes place on 21st June and sees participants giving up their bed for the night to sleep on the concrete terraces of EBB Stadium, Aldershot. There's food stalls, fun and entertainment, but when the lights go out, coldness and sleeplessness gives some idea of what many young people experience each night.
Lydia succinctly summed up the best thing about our Sleep Out event: “It's great to see everyone turn up and see how many people care.”
To sign up, go to www.sleepout.org.uk/sleepout or click in the green box on the right of this page.