Mass bed-down by the Eden Biomes to help people facing homelessness this winter

Mass bed-down by the Eden Biomes to help people facing homelessness this winter

Sleep Out is set to return to Cornwall’s Eden Project on 25th November raising vital funds for Amber and Cornish homelessness charity St Petrocs.

The work of both charities has never been more needed with an uncertain winter approaching and the continuing impacts of the global pandemic.

Sleep Out, the annual bed-down by fundraisers in sleeping bags outside the Eden Biomes, was held virtually last year but is now returning to Eden with up to 100 participants able to take part.

Rebecca Fry, Fundraising Manager at Amber, said: “The return of Sleep Out is very timely and the funds will be an immediate help.

“Young people have been hit hard, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Families and individuals barely getting by before the pandemic have been put under additional strain after over a year of successive lockdowns and uncertainty.”

Rebecca said a recent report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists showed a record number of children and young people are seeking access to NHS mental health services. In just three months, nearly 200,000 young people have been referred to mental health services – almost double pre-pandemic levels.

She added: “Young people continue to bear the brunt of the economic and social impact of the pandemic. Of the annual fall in employment, 63.1% were under 25 years of age, and long-term unemployment continues to grow among this group.

“More young people than ever are facing homelessness due to job losses, deteriorating mental health and/or family breakdown. The potential impact on their immediate welfare and long-term prospects are huge.”

St Petrocs mission is to help single people facing homelessness in Cornwall. It does this by providing accommodation, support, advice, training and resettlement services.

One St Petrocs client in his sixties, who has multiple health problems but still works six days a week, said after being found accommodation last winter: “I wouldn’t have survived if I had to sleep rough. I’d have froze to death.”

St Petrocs Communication Manager Dave Brown said: “We are really excited to be working again alongside the Amber Foundation and the Eden Project on this year’s Sleepout, which raises awareness of people experiencing homelessness.

“At this time of year, as the weather starts to turn and it becomes colder, it is vital to make sure services are in place to alleviate rough sleeping wherever we find it.”

Last year’s virtual Eden Sleepout raised a total of around £10,000 between the two charities, a big boost to the funding of their winter services.

The first Eden Sleepout was held in 2014 and since then the event has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the good causes.

Eden’s Development Director Dan James said: “At Eden we like to think of ourselves as a village hall for some great causes and none is greater than the work done by our fellow charities St Petrocs and Amber Foundation.

“We urge people to sign up to the Sleepout and get as much sponsorship as they can to help people facing homelessness this winter.

“Everyone I have spoken with who has taken part in the past has said it is a night they will never forget.”

This year’s event will include pizza making and a disco stew with the Eden chefs, music from Josh Curnow, Bailey Nelson and Terrie-May McNulty plus a talk from Raynor Winn, author of The Salt Path.

Registration will close at midday on 25 November or when capacity has been reached.

To sign up for the Sleepout, go to: Eden Sleepout 2021 (active.com)