Big Sleep At Home Huge Online Success

Big Sleep at Home Huge Online Success
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It was with an air of trepidation that the Alabaré events team launched their alternative Big Sleep at Home event on Friday evening. This has previously been a very successful event that has run for many years in Salisbury Cathedral which this year for obvious reasons the homeless charity could not run as an in-person event. Instead, the team asked supporters to support from home, finding alternative places to bed down, with an opportunity to tune into some online entertainment and activities throughout the evening.

As it was the team need not have worried. Over 200 people took part, Scotland to Plymouth, from London to Gwent. The online event was well attended with everyone enjoying an evening of music, interviews and activities. Ex-Blue Peter presenter and children’s author Konnie Huq hosted a quiz for the younger Big Sleepers, while the story of “Elvis a Tale of Kindness and Hope” by Helen May Brian was read by actor Stephen Kynman, who is the voice of Fireman Sam. Later in the evening local author Barney Norris presented a quiz for the older participants and narrated an excerpt from his acclaimed novel “Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain”.

This year’s event enabled younger supporters to take part from home which meant many families could raise awareness on homeless issues while still keeping the family entertained with a lockdown-friendly event, although older participants also played a vital part.

Back in January 2007, the then Mayor of Salisbury, Sheila Warrander, helped create the first ever 'Big Sleep' for Alabaré in Salisbury Cathedral as part of her Mayoral appeal. This year though as part of her 80th birthday celebrations Sheila decided to do take part by sleeping in her cellar. Sheila said, "I had cardboard to sleep on and two sleeping bags, luckily there were no mice or spiders, that I saw, so that was good. It was slightly easier this time because I could have a pillow, which you wouldn't normally have in the Cloisters as it's too much to carry down. In the cellar, I cheated and had a hot water bottle, and I didn't actually touch the wine we have down there."

So far Sheila has raised over £1,900, from many family, friends and local supporters. Others include Ted Uren (80) from Salisbury who slept on his bench in his garden raising over £1,100, Simon Firth (82) who slept in an outhouse raising over £5,000 and Andrew Tuggey who also slept out under the stars raising over £6,000 for Alabaré’s work with homeless Veterans in Wales! 

As a charity we set out to raise £30,000 to support our work with the homeless and we are delighted to tell you we are well on course to exceeding that target, which means that we will be ending homelessness for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. During the evening participants heard from those who have benefited from Alabaré’s support, whilst CEO Andrew Lord answered some thought-provoking questions about the charity’s services supporting this most serious of causes.

Laura Knight Alabaré’s Community Engagement Officer said, “the evening was terrific especially with so many younger people getting involved. People really got behind the ethos of the event as we can see from the photos we received, and it was nice to be able to provide some family friendly entertainment during lockdown. Fundraising during Covid has been especially challenging, although we look forward to providing lots more activities as restrictions begin to lift. Thank you to everyone who got involved.”


Photo: Copyright Jenny Nelson