As LandAid bring back their famous property industry SleepOut, 7 people from Oyster put their hands up to brave the cold, raise some funds and increase awareness about youth homelessness in the UK. LandAid is a property industry charity which is very close to all of our hearts. We show this by supporting their work throughout the year at our various company events, including our first ever comedy night event which we organised last November in the support of the charity.
In February of this year, LandAid organised a number of SleepOuts to raise awareness and gather funds to support young people affected by homelessness in the UK. The first SleepOut took place at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham and managed to successfully raise over £32,000 for St.Basils Charity, Birmingham. The second SleepOut was at Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol and managed to raise over £35,000. The most recent SleepOut was on Thursday 27th February 2020, at the Kia Oval Cricket Club in London raising £172,000. In total the SleepOut’s have raised over £310,000 combined, which is still growing as the donations are open till the end of the month.
Of course, the SleepOut itself doesn’t come close to replicating what it’s really like to sleep rough, but it does serve to raise awareness of the issue and give participants an idea of the harsh reality faced by far too many young people in the UK.
Team LandAid did a spectacular job in organising the whole event in London. A total of 308 people from the property industry turned up to spend a night between the cricket club benches. Each participant was issued two carton boxes to build their shelter with and a reusable tote bag with some essentials including a collapsible mug and a LandAid beanie.
The evening started off with the participants building their shelters for the night along the stands of the cricket club. Some people got quite creative, bringing along fairy lights to decorate their shelters, various blankets, and insulating materials were seen in use including a tarp used to create a makeshift tent for protection from the rain and wind. As the participants were not allowed to camp anywhere inside the club, survival instincts kicked in. We could hear people discussing the direction of the wind, chances of rain, the temperature, how to construct the boxes better to keep in the heat, and whether it would be better to have their upper body facing the elements out of the box, or their feet. Even some location envy was witnessed as some spots along the cricket stand were better protected from the wind and rain.
After everyone had finished with their shelter building exercise, we were invited to mingle in the bar area, where hot drinks and snacks were served to keep us all warm. This is where the collapsible mugs came very handy!
At around 9pm everyone gathered for a thank you speech from the LandAid CEO Paul Morrish and some of the key sponsors. There were also some awards issued for the best shelter built, highest amount raised as a company and as an individual, after which we had another hour or so to mingle before the lights went out.
Our 7 brave souls were humbled by the experience, and it opened their eyes to what many people have to face on a daily basis and how hard it can be mentally and physically. Even though it was only a fraction of what people actually deal with, it showed them just how important the work LandAid do is, and how crucial it is to raise awareness about the homelessness crisis the UK is currently facing.
This is what they had to say about the SleepOut:
Principal Consultant – Development & Regeneration
1. Why did you choose to participate in the SleepOut? To really understand what it must be like for people who are homeless and as part of my overall goal of 2020 of giving back to charitable events and raise as much awareness as I can.
2. What did you think about the SleepOut? I thought the event was put together and run so, so well. We were provided with a cup, hat and bag which I thought was a really nice touch, and the structure of the event was put together really well. I thought the night went well, timings were kept to and everyone was safe and you could tell there was a really good collective energy from the group. Felt like a really nice community of like minded people and we had fun at the same time.
3. Have you done anything like this before? Never. I do aim to push myself both physically and mentally to get outside of my comfort zone, so this definitely did do that!
4. How was it like for you physically and emotionally to sleep on the street for a night? Physically, it was tough. I have never done anything like this before. I found it quite difficult to get to sleep and as a light sleeper, didn’t sleep that well but definitely better than I thought I would. Emotionally, I have quite a strong mind so I was able to relax my body and remember the reason I was doing it. That really was what impacted me. Hearing how that one night will help so many people and literally change lives. And to hear the stories/testimonials about the people whose lives have already been changed made everything all worthwhile. I would gladly do it again.
5. What did you learn from the SleepOut? I learned that I am forever grateful for the things I have, a roof over my head and access to food and water on a daily basis. Also to not take things such as these for granted. In terms of homelessness, some of the statistics were shocking and stories of how tough times have been for people, really resonated with me. I want to do my utmost to help people have a better life and prevent living that life on the streets.
Recruitment Consultant – Housing Needs
1. Why did you choose to participate in the SleepOut? Having never really had to struggle in life myself, I have always wanted to give back seeing as I am in a position to do just that. Since moving to London there are so many rough sleepers on the streets and working on the Housing Needs desk it seems like the perfect opportunity to get involved & to give back!
2. What did you think about the SleepOut? LandAid clearly put a lot of thought into the organisation, the grounds were great, it was smoothly run and is something I would definitely take part in again. There was a great mood in the air and a massive turnout, around 300 people showed up to give support.
3. Have you done anything like this before? I have never participated in anything like this before it was definitely a new experience!
4. How was it like for you physically and emotionally to sleep on the street for a night? It was very cold, uncomfortable but not a touch on what rough sleepers actually have to deal with. So although it was one of the worst nights sleep I have had, it made me realise how grateful I am for all the comforts I have access to on a daily basis, not to mention the food and hot drinks provided by LandAid.
5. What did you learn from the SleepOut? It really helped open my eyes to the issues rough sleepers face especially in terrible weather conditions. Even with layers of jumpers, a sleeping bag and cardboard boxes I was still freezing. It had been snowing that morning making it quite frosty, but temperatures still get lower so to imagine having to sleep out in – degrees, in wet and windy conditions with wet clothes or poor supplies. I hope to partake in more of these events because giving back is so easy yet so many people don’t do it.
Oyster is so proud of everyone who participated in the SleepOut and we couldn’t be more grateful for a team who have so much compassion and desire to help those less fortunate than us. The night was a big eye opener for all 7 who took part in the SleepOut and everyone has only great things to say about the event. The night has inspired more of our staff to get involved in projects like this and to continue raising awareness about the struggles of homelessness.
Recruitment is by definition a people business, and we are mindful that it is our responsibility to give back to society in ways that contribute to the lives of those in need of assistance.
A recent report by Shelter found that over 280,000 people in the UK are affected by homelessness, equaling a rate of 1 in 200 people being affected.
LandAid is a London based property industry charity that has been working for over 30 years to fight homelessness in the UK. Every year, thousands of young people across the UK find themselves homeless, or at the risk of becoming homeless. LandAid’s mission is to tackle that issue by bringing together the property industry to support charities delivering life-changing services to young people who have been affected by or are at risk of homelessness.
With a strong network of corporate partners including us here at Oyster Partnership, as well as companies like Aviva Investors, Knight Frank, JLL, Allsop, The Blackstone Group and many others, LandAid sources and provides funding and expertise where needed the most by delivering a lasting impact.
LandAid invests over £2 million every year in projects working towards ending youth homelessness which they raise via various events throughout the year. LandAid awards funds to small to medium sized charities all across the UK. It’s not just about the money, though. Besides funding, they work alongside their projects for years, providing strategic advice and bringing in property expertise from companies like Paragon, Mace, Fiera Real Estate and many more.
They focus on providing safe, secure, and affordable accommodation for those affected by homelessness with their grant-making strategy. Their grants are awarded in two strands – new buildings and renovation properties.
The work LandAid does changes so many peoples lives for the better, over the last couple of years LandAid has provided £2.5 million in grant-funding to 29 charities, created 511 homes for young people, helped 788 young people move into their own independent tenancies, and supported 2,599 young people into work.
Photos of the night