Saturday 11th November marked a significant day for Off The Fence as the charity held its 20th Anniversary Big Sleepout with the goal of raising a bumper amount of money for the homeless work, Antifreeze.

Off The Fence has been running the Big Sleep out on the grounds of Aldington Primary School for many years now, providing individuals the opportunity to raise funds to help support rough sleepers in crisis during the particularly cold and dangerous winter months. Every year Off The Fence have seen an incredible response from members of the public who come forward and sleep rough at the event in order to help provide money for items, running costs, outreach costs and anything else needed to practically and emotionally support homeless individuals into accommodation and back onto their feet. This year we saw another remarkable response from Off The Fence supporters with just under 50 individuals participating in the 20th Anniversary Big Sleep out!

The evening began with inspiring talks delivered by our CEO, Paul Young and Antifreeze Keyworker Nigel Sarjudeen who shared about the work. They both explained in detail how Project Antifreeze works to support vulnerable rough sleepers and those in unstable housing situations, and how every penny raised makes a significant difference in helping the team to rebuild their lives. The talks were well received by participants who soon after headed to Intenso Coffee Shop’s very own coffee van parked just outside the side entrance of the school to receive delicious coffees and hot drinks (Cappuccinos and hot chocolates were particularly popular!)

Participants then began to settle down to their sleeping spots, tucking themselves into their sleeping bags ready to sleep rough for the night. It was a long, damp and cold night but everyone managed to pull through to the morning without abandoning the challenge- after all, part of the challenge is a glimpse and brief experience of the reality that a huge number of men and women around the city find themselves facing every day. Although many people had difficulty sleeping with the rain spattering on them throughout the night, a warm bacon and egg butty greeted them the following morning.

Off The Fence can confirm that at least £3000 has been raised through the event so far with the final figure yet to be released– an incredible sum! We would like to say a massive thank you to all who took part in the event. Off The Fence would like to say a special thank you also to Aldrington Primary School for generously lending their building as a venue for the event, to Intenso for providing their excellent coffee van for participants in the evening, and to Crossover for providing delicious egg and back rolls to all our hungry participants the following morning. And last but not least, everyone who has sponsored a friend, family member or colleague to take part!

Inspired to take part in your own Big Sleep Out or learn more about Off The Fence’s work with the homeless community in Brighton & Hove? Drop our team an email to fundraising@offthefence.org.uk.