On Friday December 3, the oldest and biggest sleepout in the UK returns to Birmingham. The new venue for St Basils Big SleepOut 2021 is Millennium Point - and the organisers hope to fill it to capacity.
Abigail Vlahakis, the CEO of Millennium Point said: “It is a pleasure to support the important work St Basils achieves every year in tackling youth homelessness.
Young people, many of whom have not engaged in education, training or employment, are feeling abandoned by our society.
“However, with a little support, these very same young people could be the engineers, doctors and computer scientists of tomorrow which drive our local economy forward. Millennium Point is determined to raise awareness for this issue and proud to be working alongside the brilliant and passionate team at St Basil’s to end youth homelessness.”
This is an event that usually raises over £100,000 but, due to the pandemic, last years was cancelled, so the organisers are hoping that the challenge of sleeping outside for a night, with hundreds of others, will appeal not only to the adventurous nature of people but also to their willingness to support young people with additional challenges of homelessness through these difficult times.
CEO of St Basils, Jean Templeton, said: “St Basils aims to help prevent youth homelessness in the West Midlands, advising and assisting over 4000 young people at risk of homelessness each year, housing over 1000 and supporting some 750 young people at any one time. We don’t believe that homelessness should be part of growing up for any young person and the money raised from this event will go towards ensuring young people feel cared about and have a safe, decent and affordable home and trusted, skilled support to enable them to develop their skills and confidence and move on with their lives.”
The Big Sleepout sees hundreds of people from companies, families and groups taking part by challenging themselves, raising money and having fun; particularly in the much coveted ‘Creative Shelter competition’ with carboard provided yet again by long-time supporters Schumacher packaging.
Barrie Hodge, Head of Fundraising and Communications at St Basils said: “We get regulars and people who are doing it for the first time, all helping each other on the night and it makes for a great atmosphere.
“The creativity that some people put into the creative shelter challenge is truly amazing and we recognise that with prizes on the night. But despite the fun people have at the Big Sleepout we never lose sight of why we are doing it in the first place.
“All money raised will help services tailored to support young residents to build confidence and gain skills, and training and employment to ensure they can break the cycle of exclusion and homelessness. We need the support of our local communities and businesses to ensure we can create a brighter future for Birmingham’s young people.”