Sleep out for LandAid

6 March, 2018

As you may be aware from our twitter feed (@CrippsPropLaw) a hardy group of eight souls from across our Real Estate division took part in LandAid’s Sleep Out last Thursday 1 March.  On one of the coldest nights on record, we braved the weather warnings and South Eastern trains’ reduced timetable with our sleeping bags and hand knitted orange beanies to spend the night sleeping out in Old Spitalfields market, along with 200 other property professionals from across the industry.

It was all to raise funds for LandAid, specifically to help City YMCA to rebuild and refurbish their hostel in London, and also to raise awareness of youth homelessness.  The chief executive of City YMCA, Gillian Bowen, came to speak to us about their ambitious plans to rebuild their Errol Street hostel, a 1970s build that was no longer fit for purpose.  5 young people who are currently living in the hostel also told us their stories.  To say that their tales were heartbreaking is an understatement; the girl whose mother chose her abusive stepfather over her and threw her out with nowhere to go; the boy who said he didn’t even realise that living in a violent home wasn’t normal until someone at his apprenticeship placement told him it didn’t have to be like that.  He ended his story by telling us that until he went to the City YMCA he didn’t know that kind people existed and couldn’t believe that 200 of us would put themselves out to help someone like him.  For all 5 of them, and the hundreds of others like them who have been helped and supported by the City YMCA, none of this was their fault.  They had been let down by their families and the system, had no other support network to fall back on, but had been saved by the City YMCA.  “We all have dreams” one girl said, “we just need a chance”.

For all of us it was an amazing (but very chilly!) experience.  It really brought home the plight of those without a permanent home, the often ‘hidden’ homeless who go from sofa to sofa or (in one case Gillian spoke about) bus stop to bus stop every night just to survive.  The windburn on my face has faded, but the impact of that night will stay with me much longer.

We would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated; our current total is an amazing £2,500 and over £140,000 was raised on the night.  Our fundraising page is still open: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/cripps1.

Some photos of the night are below (never has a hashtag been more apt) but do have a look at our twitter feed, @CrippsPropLaw, to see more tweets and photos of the night.