ARE YOU HOMELESS, SOFA SURFING OR AT RISK?

Participants at Centrepoint's Sleep Out event, community fundraising for homeless young people.

Everything you need to know about Sleep Out 2019

Our annual Sleep Out is fast approaching, and we’re looking forward to seeing both new and familiar faces peeking out of sleeping bags this year. But where are we setting up base in 2019? And what do you need to bring with you?

Whether you’re an SO aficionado or new to the tradition, here’s everything you need to know about this year’s event…

There are six Centrepoint Sleep Outs to choose from

We know – you’re spoilt for choice! Sleep Outs will be happening in Barnsley and Sunderland on 14 November; a London community Sleep Out on 19 November, shortly followed by a London corporate Sleep Out on 21 November; Bradford’s Sleep Out will also be taking place on 21 November, and Manchester’s on 28 November.

And if you don’t live in these areas, we also have Sleep Outs happening in partnership with End Youth Homelessness, who run SO events everywhere from Edinburgh Festival Square to the Eden Project in Cornwall – you can check these out here

So, to recap:

Sleep Out in Oakwell Stadium, Barnsley on 14th November 2019
Sleep Out in Stadium of Light, Sunderland on 14th November 2019
Sleep Out in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London with friends on 19th November 2019
Sleep Out in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London with work on 21st November 2019
Sleep Out in Utilita Energy Stadium, Bradford on 21st November 2019
Sleep Out in Victoria Baths, Manchester on 28th November 2019

The opening times of each location variesm with some locations open from between 6pm and 7pm, with the last entry between 9.30pm and 10pm. Lights out is at 11pm. Check a SleepOut.org.uk for the opening time in your location.

This is our 15th Sleep Out

That’s right – Sleep Out is turning 15 this year! And we might be biased, but we think it’s going to be our best yet. So far, Sleep Out has raised roughly £4 million for Centrepoint, and our SO supporters continue to grow every year. Just last year, we raised over £750,000 across our Sleep Out events, and these funds are used to continue the development of our vital support services for homeless young people.

There will be food and drink available

For those heading to our Corporate Sleep Out, don’t worry about bringing your own midnight snacks. We’ll have plenty of food and drinks available on the night: a hot dinner and breakfast will be provided by the RAF, with vegan options available.

Dinners will be available at all other Sleep Outs, and soup connoisseurs Yorkshire Provender will be providing some hot broths for the night at our London Community Sleep Out. In the morning you’ll be handed a pot of porridge to get your day started right (vegan, dairy- and gluten-free options will be available). Water, tea, coffee and hot chocolate will be offered free of charge at all events throughout the night, while the on-site bar will sell beer, wine and soft drinks, with all profits donated to Centrepoint. If you do have any allergies, please let us know in advance at events@centrepoint.org.

What you’ll need to bring…

You’ll need to bring a few bits with you on the night of your Sleep Out, including:

Sleeping bag and pillow: We recommend bringing a comfy pillow and a 3-4 season sleeping bag to cope with the chilly November temperatures.

Warm layers: Think like a Schichttorte and go for multiple thin layers rather than a couple of thick ones – this is the key to warmth. Start with a thermal layer, a long sleeve top, jumper and a warm coat, and top it off with a waterproof. This is what we recommend as a minimum, and suggest that you bring more layers than you think you need. Finish the cosy look off with a hat, scarf and gloves.

Sturdy footwear and thick socks: Wellies, walking boots or sturdy trainers should help you to overcome all the terrains and weather conditions November has to throw at you.

A torch: There will be lights, but the site does get dark once bedtime hits.

Reusable water bottle and thermos flask: You can help us be as sustainable as possible by bringing these with you. Plus, more tea for you!

Portable phone charger: Unfortunately the great outdoors doesn’t have charging points, and no one likes to be caught short without their phone (pics or it didn’t happen, right?), so bring along a portable charger and share your experience with friends and family.

…And what you shouldn't bring

By all means bring along fluffy pillows, a good book, that teddy that’s been helping you drift off since you were a baby – but there are a couple of bits we’d prefer you didn't bring. These include:

Alcohol and glass bottles: All bags will be searched on arrival as a formality. Any alcohol and glass will be confiscated.

Valuables: There are no lockers on site, so any precious heirlooms, sentimental bric-a-brac, and just valuables in general will be brought at your own risk.

Large bags: The bigger the bags, the longer the search is going to take, and the longer it’ll take to get everyone on site. And please please please, don’t bring suitcases!

There will be entertainment

While Sleep Out is about raising awareness of youth homelessness and what it’s like to go through rough sleeping, we also want to celebrate your fundraising efforts and have fun together! There will be an onsite bar open until 10.30pm and we’ve got some great entertainment lined up at each event location, including some live music. There will also be workshops throughout the evening for those who are interested in finding out more about Centrepoint’s homelessness initiatives, and London’s corporate Sleep Out will feature a panel talk lead by influencer and creator of the Honestly Podcast, Clemmie Telford. Come and learn about the work we do, hear from those directly involved with Centrepoint, and meet some new people!

Your fundraising aim is around £400

Crucially, the money you raise helps us to deliver the vital services we provide. When you come to a Sleep Out event, we ask you to try and reach a fundraising target of £400. (Each Sleep Out event may have a different fundraising target - check SleepOut.org to find out the target for your area.) We set it at this amount because £400 is enough to cover the first installment of a university bursary for a Centrepoint young person, which helps them start on an equal footing and reach their full academic potential. We'll give you a fundraising pack to help with ideas, but if you’re concerned you might not reach your target, not to worry, just get in touch with us. We’ll be on hand to help you out with tips and ideas that’ll help you reach your target in no time – and if not, we might be able to extend your deadline to give you a bit longer to fundraise.

That said, in 2018’s Sleep Out most of participants managed to exceed their fundraising target, so we have every faith that you will too. Still, if you’re feeling concerned, email us at sleepout@centrepoint.org.

You can share your Sleep Out experience on social media

We're encouraging all participants to share pictures and updates of their Sleep Out this year - you can use the hashtag #CentrepointSleepOut and tag us with @centrepointuk and let us know how you're getting on!

This isn’t the same as rough sleeping

It's important to note that this event doesn’t replicate rough sleeping, but it’ll give you an idea of the situation a lot of our young people find themselves in. The Sleep Out sites are completely safe and secure, and will be closed away from the general public. The venues vary from large marquees in London to a stadium in Barnsley, but these will allow you to experience some of the harsh realities of rough sleeping, exposing you to the cold, the wind and possibly rain, too.

You can hold your own Sleep Out

Can’t make any of these Sleep Out dates? We completely get it: life can be busy. But if you still want to take part, don’t worry – you can actually hold your own Sleep Out. You could hunker down in your community centre, your local school, or even your own back garden – the important thing is to gather your friends and family in order to raise money and awareness. Not sure where to start? Don’t panic – we’ll be on hand to help you organize it, and you’ll receive a Sleep Out pack from us with all the essential tips and tricks on how to raise money and make it a memorable one.

You can sign up for free

If you haven't yet signed up to 2019's Sleep Out, then what are you waiting for? There's still time, and you can now use code 'BLOGFREE' to get yourself registered for free. So grab your sleeping bag and hop to it!