Call to help!
Last year, the Chief Operating Officer of the SDBEMAT, Mark Burnett asked for volunteers to ‘sleep rough’ in the grounds of the beautiful Southwark Cathedral raising money for the homeless through the charity Robes Project. We raised over £6,000. Mrs Atkins participated on behalf of St Luke’s School.
This year, Mark wanted to increase the number of participants and therefore increase the amount raised for this important charity. Mrs Atkins was pleased to be joined by Ms Greenway, Mrs Bryan-Whyte and Mrs Bryan-Whyte’s sister Dr Cuff. Along with other leaders from other SDBEMAT schools; St Matthew’s, All Saints, St Paul’s and St Michael’s. So far we have raised £6,500.
The Robes Project (Robes) is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) that has been serving those experiencing homelessness in Southwark and Lambeth since 2007.
Their main project is their Winter Night Shelter. Between November and April, the shelter is open 7 nights a week bringing together 30 or so churches and around 1,000 amazing volunteers to offer 35 warm beds for the night. Robes have also launched a pilot program, supporting their guests to sustain their new accommodation by supporting them during the first 3-6 months of their transition out of the shelter called Floating Support.
Click on the ‘link’ above for more details.
“In the past 2 weeks, our shelters have been running, we have already provided food, warmth and a bed to 18 people, and 4 of those have already moved onto longer term accommodation.” Robes, 2023
It was fun to begin with.....
I spent Friday night sleeping outside to raise funds of Robes and South London’s homeless. When we arrived at Southwark Cathedral, we saw other volunteers with their sleeping arrangements set up. We headed to the same spot that we slept in last year, helping each other to set up.
Before the Evening Service, there was a panel quiz show. Afterwards, we sat around talking trying to keep warm. Looking at the photographs, it looks like we are having a great time and we were enjoying each other’s company., which we were.
Then we tried to sleep. I had a small pumped-up mattress and a sleeping bag but I couldn’t get warm. It was much colder than last year’s sleepout. The cold seemed to be raising from the stone floor and I couldn’t get warm all night. It was very bright and noisy around us. As I couldn’t get warm, I was thinking what it must have be like to not be sleeping amongst friends in a locked area for one night, but to be on the streets alone with just a sleeping bag, if I was lucky. We were able to pop inside to use the toilets, have a hot drink, simple things that the homeless may not be able to access. It is so easy to become homeless. When I was speaking to Lisa Moodie, Robes’ Chief Executive Officer, she said that some of the guests staying had jobs. She told me how many guests were in the shelter and how many they had helped in accessing accommodation.
The next morning, after the Eucharist Service, we were offered something hot to eat and drink. Then we packed up and went home. Back to our warm houses and for me to a warm bed. I was unwell that night, with a cough, sore throat and a headache, and spent most of the weekend recovering (and I am rarely unwell) and I wasn’t the only one to feel unwell, achy or tired.
We are very grateful that it was just the one night… until we return again next year!