Arc, formerly the Taunton Association for the Homeless, held its first ever virtual sleep out – and raised an incredible £13,831 to support the charity’s services.
Normally the sleep out would take place in a car park and supporters would join together for a night under the stars. However, with the current restrictions in place, a different approach was needed.
Instead, supporters decided to run the event virtually so they could continue to raise funds, awareness and create the community spirit that the sleep out brings each year. Participants were encouraged to spend a night away from their beds and ‘sleep out at home’, in their gardens, sheds, garages or other alternative spaces.
To keep the ‘sleepers’ entertained during the evening, there was a live stream with music from Evie Cosgrove and Wille Edwards, poetry from Graeme Ryan, storytelling from Alexandra Simson as well as a thank you video created by Arc staff and clients.
Rosie Hather, Arc fundraising and communications manager, said: “The event went better than we could have imagined, despite the wet weather! We had an incredible 138 participants sleeping out over 67 households – the most participants the sleep out has ever had!
“They all set up different ‘sleeping arrangements’ – under tarpaulins, hidden away in sheds and even sheltering under a ping-pong table! We were even joined by a few international students of a Taunton-based school, which meant we had ‘sleepers’ in Kenya, France and Russia!”