Heavy rain, freezing temperatures, blowing winds and a piece of cardboard… it was a tough night for Haydn van Weenen and Tom Mollett at the Fine & Country Bedford Sleep Out.
They spent the evening speaking to homeless people in the Bedford area to gain a greater understanding of the issues. They returned to their car park where they spent the night in sleeping bags and make-shift cardboard shelters.
Haydn said, “The night was not pleasant; it rained, I couldn’t feel my toes past 11pm and it was so uncomfortable. We woke up by 5am and knew that we couldn’t get back to sleep so walked around Bedford to see if any homeless people wanted breakfast.
“Work the next day was a challenge. I was so tired and constantly freezing. I’m so grateful that I had the weekend to recover. The event has really opened my eyes to how difficult it is to function the next day so job interviews, for example, must be so difficult when you are homeless.”
Haydn and Tom were raising money for the SMART Prebend Centre, a well-known and respected local homeless charity in Bedford. They provide a range of support, including hot meals, showers and unstructured activities, like hygiene and kitchen skills.
The Sleep Out was the second fundraiser from Fine & Country Bedford. The first was their coffee morning in November which raised £437. The Sleep Out raised an incredible £1,155 bringing their total to £1,592. The donations will be used to purchase a new fridge at the SMART Prebend Centre, enabling them to continue to supply a hot breakfast and lunch throughout the winter. In January 2017 alone, they received 1,380 people for lunch and 409 for breakfast.