The Big Sleep Out

On a cold night, in late January, we took part in an event run by Northampton’s Hope Centre; a charity with whom the Lakes have an ongoing relationship. The Hope Centre tackles homelessness and poverty.

The event was the 2021 Big Sleep Out-IN. Usually participants would meet at a park in Northampton and sleep out, under the skies, with just a sleeping bag. The pandemic meant that the event now had to take place in our homes – on the floor, in the bath; a couple of us took to outbuildings on our properties.

As many homeless people have dogs, we decided to raise awareness and funds for Dogs on the Streets (DOTS) too. They are volunteer run, not for profit charity dedicated to the welfare of dogs belonging to the UK’s homeless community. We think that the two charities go ‘Hand in Paw’.

Participant comments:- 

“I only had to sleep ‘out’ for one night and then I went back into a warm house. The night was thought provoking; the homeless community have to do it, night after night, and through all weathers. I didn’t get into a deep sleep and it was cold during the night, I was cold during the night, the rain made music on the cabin roof. How would it be if I were homeless, worried for my safety, trying to keep what possessions I have secure, maintaining personal hygiene, emotional & physical health issues... so sleeping out was a small thing to do”. Angela

“As Angela said it’s one thing to sleep rough for one night in the knowledge that there’s a warm house, hot tea, wife and dog to welcome me the following morning but entirely another to think that others may have to spend an indefinite number of nights sleeping on the street where they are vulnerable to the weather and potentially other people. I slept in our stable which is covered and well away from any dangers but the genuinely homeless wouldn’t have the ‘luxury’ of a roof over their head away from the rain that fell on the night and the threat of abuse by people in town centres.

Like Angela I didn’t sleep well and the concrete floor was not very comfortable even with a cardboard box and sleep mat but I was warm in my sleeping bag (and no I didn’t subject Onyx the lab to a night in the stable!). I do know I slept a bit because I woke expecting it to be about 3 in the morning and it was 6:17 so just in time for the Hope Centre Zoom meeting at 6:45!

Thank you to Shoosmiths and everyone who supported us individually, the Hope Centre needs a lot of money every year with limited funding from government and this has gone some way towards helping with the costs”. Simon

We know Charities have suffered from massive drops in funding, due to the pandemic. Normally the Big Sleep Out would raise £50,000 - £70,000 which forms part of the £650,000 that the Hope Centre need to raise to operate annually. For them, we raised £890 and Shoosmith’s the Lakes generously, donated £1,000. Overall, the Hope Centre raised £21,500, a great effort. For DOTs we raised £453 with Shoosmith’s the Lakes donating a further £500.

Thank you to everyone involved and to those who supported us.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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