Two people stood with their backs to the camera wearing high vis jackets and bobble hats with London's skyline in the background.

Sleep Out 2023: On the night

10 March 2023

  • Author: Jan Edwards, Mass Participation Fundraising Officer
  • Reading time: 3 minutes

Well, we did it! After months of preparation, our London Sleep Out took place on 24 February - and what an event it was. Centrepoint's Mass Participation Fundraising Officer, Jan Edwards, was there on the night - from quizzes to making new friends, he walks us through the event in all its glory. 

What happened at Sleep Out 2023?

This year marked our first Community Sleep Out since before the pandemic, so we had anticipated there would naturally be some stress and a few blips along the way. However, the night surpassed all our expectations, cementing this event as one of our most important and quintessential. And for that, we have our amazing participants and volunteers to thank; those who gave up their time to fundraise, contribute, work and brave the cold to make the night so special.

There was a distinct 'community feel' to the event, and I was struck by how willing our participants - most of whom came alone - were to connect with others, united in their passion to end youth homelessness. It felt like everyone had known each other for years: people were playing our 'In Their Shoes' quiz with their newfound friends, drinking tea while discussing their love of Centrepoint, and saying goodnight to their 'neighbours'. 

This vigour was apparent in their fundraising, too. We set our participants a target of £275 - down from £350 to reflect the cost-of-living crisis. But everyone went above and beyond, with an average of over £700 raised per person. We had an overall target of £55K based on 200 participants, but have raised nearly £65K and counting with 82 participant. Simply amazing!

Three people sit on the ground inside a giant sleeping back waving at the camera

As the stewardship lead, I have never worked with a nicer set of people, who were all prepared to push themselves to take their fundraising to the next level. On the night, I loved putting faces to names and really understanding everyone’s motivations. Many commented on the intimate feel: “I was so nervous but I’m having such a great time. Everyone’s so warm and friendly, and it’s so nice to bond with others who care about young people as much as me”, said one participant. We've even had 10 attendees already express an interest in next year's event! 

This would have all been impossible without the commitment and dedication of our volunteers from such a broad range of departments. Our Senior Helpline Manager, Paul Brocklehurst (who also gave a wonderful speech) and his team came along, playing Helpline calls for attendees. 

From the talks to the activities, and even the 'lights out' part of the evening, went swimmingly. There was a sense that all involved had a real commitment to Centrepoint and wanted to invoke real and lasting change.

Sleep Out 2023 truly was truly a night that we will all remember for a long time. A huge thank you to everyone who helped make it the incredible event it was.

Now, on to 2024…