Sleep Out Challenge Success

  • 26 June 2017

Sleep Out 2017 Raised £9,500 to Support Young People

On Friday evening, young performers taking part in Step by Step's Music Project with the West End Centre and Forward 4Wiz took to the stage as the headline act at the Sleep Out Challenge.

Sleep Out participants had been welcomed by busking group, Sgt Steppers Homeless Hearts Club Band who warmed up the crowd with fun renditions of some classic tunes. The band are gearing up to perform as they run and busk the entire London Marathon for Step by Step next Spring.

The audience was then blown away by Ilona's beautiful voice for a few songs before the show was unexpectedly halted due to a technical hitch. Fortunately, the wood-fired pizza oven and soup kitchen were on hand to provide refreshments to the sleepers before everyone settled down to watch a film on the EBB Stadium terraces, before the real challenge kicked in.

Shortly after 11pm, lights out was called. Step by Step's 80 or so Sleep Out Challenge participants, who included included our CEO Amanda Dubarry, Jamie Neil - our Chair of the Board, eight additional Step by Step staff members, Leo Docherty - MP for Aldershot, several young people supported by the charity, and many other supporters of Step by Step's work, then tried to settle into their cardboard creations, or simply into sleeping bags, and aimed to get some shut eye on the cold, hard terraces.

Erin, 11, took part in the Sleep Out Challenge for the fifth time this year. Each year Erin has built a cardboard shelter, her favourite was her rocket from a couple of years ago. This time she won the cardboard shelter competition with her take on the EBB Stadium! She said of the Sleep Out Challenge, "My favourite part is where everyone's going to sleep and the lights go out and you snuggle into your sleeping bag." She went on to share, "I think I've raised around £250." Erin was one of around 80 sleepers, many of whom raised funds in teams. Watch Erin's interview, recorded live at the event, at the bottom of the page.

Surprisingly, Erin wasn't the youngest sleeper; that crown lies with Lucy at only four years old. Lucy and her sister, Olivia, six, had built a cardboard gingerbread house and cardboard Big Ben to camp out in and were very excited. The gingerbread house came second in the cardboard shelter competition!

(Photo Credit: Alison Jepp Photography)

One particular fundraiser, James, had a very personal reason for wanting to support Step by Step through his Sleep Out Challenge. He said, "This charity changed my life. Things could have gone very differently for me. When I was homeless at 16 years old, Step by Step gave me the tools and support to achieve what I have to date." James' fundraising page shows over £840 raised against his target of £500 which he wanted to raise to support one young person for one week in emergency accommodation.

Amanda (CEO) said in her welcome, "I hope, when you're really uncomfortable on the concrete in the middle of the night, when you're tossing and turning and you're thinking, 'why on Earth did I agree to do this?', that you remember you're helping Step by Step to transform the lives of around 1800 young people who are really facing a tough time."

Sleep Out 2017 has raised £9,500 to help Step by Step continue to support young people facing hard times. Congratulations to all of our participants.

To support the Sleep Out Challenge, and help us raise over £10,000:

Click here to donate
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