Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Newark Advertiser reporters joins the The Big Newark Sleep Out 2024, organised by Newark Emmaus Trust and YMCA Newark and Sherwood, raising over £18,000 for homeless support





It was an evening of cheer and camaraderie as dozens came together to raise thousands for charity during the The Big Newark Sleep Out.

Over 90 people took part in the event, committing to sleeping out under the stars in solidarity with those living on the street, and the Advertiser joined them to find out what it was like.

Organised by the Newark Emmaus Trust, a charity supporting young people experiencing homelessness in our area, and YMCA Newark and Sherwood, who hosted the event at their sports and activities village, it was a unique and thought provoking experience.

Advertiser reporter, Fionn Burrows, took part.
Advertiser reporter, Fionn Burrows, took part.

After the success of the the first sleep out last March, this year’s event has so far surpassed expectations and raised over £18,000 and counting, with individuals, groups and businesses all doing their bit to raise funds and awareness for the cause.

Most came equipped with just a sleeping bag and a few layers, constructing makeshift shelters from recycled cardboard to protect themselves from the elements as the wind blew and temperatures dropped on a cold March night.

To keep entertained some brought board games and others played instruments, which led to a big sing-along gathered around a fire pit to keep spirits high.

The Newark and Sherwood District Council housing and homelessness team at the Big Newark Sleep Out and (right) fire-side singing.
The Newark and Sherwood District Council housing and homelessness team at the Big Newark Sleep Out and (right) fire-side singing.
Getting ready for a cold night at the YMCA during the Big Newark Sleep Out.
Getting ready for a cold night at the YMCA during the Big Newark Sleep Out.

But beyond the excitement there was a realisation and appreciation that many do not have the same luxury of choice and for them this is a reality, without the comforts we were afforded in a safe and controlled environment.

After chatting and laughing with some kind-hearted strangers I head to my bed for the night.

Sandwiched between rows of other participants and tucked away in my sleeping bag, I couldn’t help but lay awake in my makeshift shelter thinking about how lucky I am.

For us this was just one uncomfortable night, but for far too many this is a daily reality and one which all too often is faced alone.

But the importance of a night like this is best reflected in its impact and how the simple act of solidarity can make the world of difference, with thousands raised for a good cause and sharing a valuable message.

Now that money will go towards organisations such as the Newark Emmaus Trust, supporting the young homeless in our community to get back on their feet.

Getting ready for a cold night at the YMCA during the Big Newark Sleep Out.
Getting ready for a cold night at the YMCA during the Big Newark Sleep Out.
Big Newark Sleep Out.
Big Newark Sleep Out.

The charity’s chief executive, Nikki Burley, said: “Events like this help raise money, but also help awareness of being homeless in Newark and engaging with the community.

“We did it for the first time last year and this year it’s really grown. Everyone taking part has their own reasons, but even just going away and speaking to a friend or a coworker about homelessness does so much for raising awareness.

“You might not see homelessness every day, but it’s out there and we specialise in helping 16-25 year olds who may have nowhere else to turn for whatever reason.

“We have a lady here tonight who came to us when she was 16 for help and now she’s grown up, working as a teacher, with a teenager of her own, which is amazing to see.

“We do everything we can to help, but unfortunately we can only do so much and support like this makes a huge difference.”

Big Newark Sleep Out.
Big Newark Sleep Out.
Rob and Cath McIntyre, playing backgammon during the Big Newark Sleep Out.
Rob and Cath McIntyre, playing backgammon during the Big Newark Sleep Out.

Caroline Cartwright, marketing manager at YMCA Newark and Sherwood, said: “The atmosphere and support we’ve had has been amazing.

“Everyone was excited to take part and make a difference and have been so generous. I hope that this becomes a calendar event and continues to grow year on year.

“We wanted to be involved with this event because we have a lot of vulnerable young people who come to us.

“We want to help them become more confident and give them advice and support to become more independent and take a step forward in life.”

Although rough sleeping is the most visible form of homelessness, many more are sofa surfing, living in their cars, squatting or living in some sort of supported accommodation without a permanent place to call home.

Homelessness can have a number of different causes, from neglect or physical abuse, to issues with mental health, finances or substance abuse, each requiring complex care from dedicated teams of specialists.

The Newark and Sherwood District Council housing and homelessness team at the Big Newark Sleep Out.
The Newark and Sherwood District Council housing and homelessness team at the Big Newark Sleep Out.
Newark and Sherwood District Council's portfolio holder for housing, Lee Brazier, with the council's homeless strategy officer, Cheska Asman, at the Big Newark Sleep Out.
Newark and Sherwood District Council's portfolio holder for housing, Lee Brazier, with the council's homeless strategy officer, Cheska Asman, at the Big Newark Sleep Out.

The largest group represented at the sleep out, and also the lead fundraiser, were the housing and homelessness team from Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Cheska Asman, the council’s homeless strategy officer, said: “We’ve done a review of homelessness in the district which we have used to develop a five-year strategy which we will use to tackle and alleviate homelessness.

“Single homelessness has increased and we are looking into the private rented sector which contributes to a huge amount of homelessness and supporting those whose friends and family are no longer able to accommodate them.

“This strategy is not just about housing, it’s about finding every way we can to help.”

I would urge everyone to consider taking part an organised sleep out event, if for nothing else, gaining the eye-opening experience of the reality that so many in this country face every day.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More