Our fundraising coordinator, Terry, has written a short report on this year’s winter fair and sleepout.
On 15 February we held our third annual sponsored sleepout at St Giles’ church. The event this year was to raise money for CamCRAG and Cambridge Churches Homeless Project (CCHP). The CCHP is a collection of churches and a synagogue that work together to offer practical care and support to people who would otherwise be sleeping rough in our city each winter. Many of the issues faced by the homeless and refugees are very similar: stigmatization, poor mental and physical health, hopelessness about the future; which is why we dedicate our biggest fundraiser of the year to both causes.
Last year we raised about £11,000, half of which went to our chosen partner, the Whitworth Trust, to help save Whitworth House, Cambridge’s only refuge for young homeless women. The year before, we raised a similar amount for Wintercomfort. And this year we have raised over £14,000 so far for CCHP and our core projects supporting refugees in Europe!
Visitors to the fair heard several guest speakers, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who spoke passionately about the Government’s recent refusal to resettle child refugees currently living in appalling conditions in Northern France. Our other guest speakers included Faraj, a young refugee from Syria; Aisha, a refugee from Uganda; Shoshana, a host from Refugees at Home; Stephen from CCHP; and Catharine from CamCRAG. Glenys Newton compered the winter fair, and read out poems and stories. The church was tidied up for the evening service, after which we prepared and shared our evening meal. And then the sleepers settled down to spend the night sleeping under tarpaulin while Storm Dennis swirled all around, with a rainstorm at 3am. Everyone stuck it out though – some under nothing but a piece of tarpaulin against the buttresses, and some inside the church – and we all survived to enjoy our traditional breakfast of bacon/vegan butties in the warm, dry nave of the church.
You can sign up to our newsletter, and read previous newsletters, at camcrag.org.uk/newsletter