A Tale of Two Cities – The Big Cambridge-Calais Sleepout

What would it take to make you sleep outside tonight?Sleepout graphic
Make your New Year’s resolution to help the homeless in 2018.
Why are we doing this?

We want to raise awareness and aid for marginalised and forgotten people sleeping rough in winter, whoever and wherever they are.

What is it?

A sponsored sleepout at St. Giles’ church on Homeless Sunday, 28 January 2018, in aid of the homeless in Cambridge and Calais, organised by CamCRAG and Wintercomfort.

Who is going to do this?

You are! If the idea excites you, come and sleep out with us. Or, if you are good at organising events, getting sponsorship, or are interested in helping generally, get in touch.

How do we make this happen?

Read the information below and signup! Choose whether you want to join the St. Giles’ sleep-out, come to the launch event, pledge to organise your own event later in the year, or join our volunteer planning team.

Make your resolution

1 Sleep out with us at St Giles’ Church on Sunday Night

This is our flagship event that will kick-off a year of action.
If you are interested and can give up your time sign up via this online form.
We want as many sponsors as possible – you can sponsor us online here. If you know of a corporate or other large sponsor who may be interested in getting involved we would love to hear from you, please email us on projects@camcrag.org.uk.

We know that a sleepout sounds a bit hard-core, but please DON’T PANIC! The inside of the church is available for sleeping, the site will be supervised all night, hot drinks will be available, and we will have a safe house nearby to retreat to. Please note that we cannot accept anyone under the age of 18, and we do ask that you agree to obtain sponsorship.

Please read the sleepout safety information here: Sleepout Safety Document

2 Come to St Giles’ Church for soup and a chat

From 4pm on the afternoon of Sunday 28th there will be food, information and guest speakers. Come along and meet the sleepers, and the Wintercomfort and CamCRAG volunteers, enjoy a bowl of soup, and find out a bit more about what we do.

Get your FREE ticket to this event at http://2citiessleepout.eventbrite.co.uk

3 Volunteer to Help Us

We need people to help us in all sorts of ways.   We will need a hand in the soup kitchen, where we will be serving from 4pm, and general assistance with organisation and sponsorship will be welcomed. Contact us via email projects@camcrag.org.uk.

This is only the start! We want you to pledge to organise your own event later on in the year during Refugee Week, 18 to 24 June 2018. If this interests you then sign please sign up via this volunteer form for satellite events.

Please read the general safety information in this General Safety Document

More information

This event is a sponsored rough sleepout organised by CamCRAG and Cambridge Wintercomfort in aid of ‘Homeless Sunday’ – when groups across the country take practical action to tackle the problem of homelessness. Homeless Sunday is organised by ‘Housing Justice’ and will take place on Sunday 28 January 2018.

We strongly feel that this is an opportunity not only to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in general, but also aspects that many people may not fully appreciate, such as:

  • The scale of the problem in Cambridge and nationally, and the fact that it is growing rapidly.
  • The fact that in Calais and Northern France there are hundreds, possibly over a thousand, refugees sleeping rough (there is a common misconception that the demolition of ‘The Jungle’ refugee camp solved the problem).
  • The work done by the Cambridge homeless and refugee groups, and the volunteering opportunities that they provide.

Apart from highlighting these facts, we want to emphasise that these people all face similar problems, that they share a common humanity, and that homelessness is not their fault. They may be in this situation because they have lost their job, have family problems, have suffered illness, or because their home in Aleppo was destroyed by bombs. Our message is that it doesn’t matter – they deserve help without judgement, wherever and whoever they are. The final point we want to bring out is the bitter reality of sleeping (or trying to sleep) outside in winter.

Our event will take the following form. During the afternoon of the 28th the two groups will host a launch event at St. Giles’ Church on Castle Hill which will consist of food, information sharing, speeches, media coverage, and the opportunity to talk to the groups. This will be open to anybody and we hope it will bring in new volunteers. In the church garden we will put up tents to symbolise the event. A small number of volunteers will then take part in the actual sleepout; some inside the church, some outside in tents, some with just blankets. These volunteers will have personal and corporate sponsorship and we will split all donations equally between Wintercomfort and CamCRAG. The event will end at 6.00 am on the Monday morning with a ‘survivor’s photo’ and, we hope, more media coverage.

The event is intended to be the high-profile launch of several events throughout the year which are planned to continue, and extend, community understanding and engagement around these issues. During ‘Refugee Week’ 2018 we will ask for people to organise their own sleepout (or related) events, and to join in the making of a ‘Sea Of Tents’ in Cambridge – open spaces filled with (unoccupied) tents that symbolize and continue to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness.

Media: Press release available as a PDF at camcrag.org.uk/docs/sleepout_press_release.pdf