Over 115 people sleep out at Temple Meads to raise funds for local charity 1625 Independent People
Bristol’s biggest Sleep Out event for youth homelessness, powered by OVO Energy, took place last night (Thursday 6th November) raising over £22,000 for 1625 Independent People.
Bristol Temple Meads station was taken over by more than 100 staff from OVO Energy, local dignitaries, special guests and other fundraising members of the public who all came together with the unified vision of making a stand against youth homelessness.
To date, £22,000 has been raised as a result of the Bristol Sleep Out, with more expected to roll in.Special guests, Lord Mayor Cncllr Alistair Watson; Claire Hiscott, Conservative PPC Bristol West; Sian Evans from Kosheen and members from the Bristol Rugby Academy Squad were in attendance to show their support and raise even more awareness of the troubles that vulnerable young people face when they find themselves without a home.
Whilst entertainment and a soup kitchen were provided, the biting cold, damp, noise and difficulty of carrying on your day with little sleep all enabled sleepers to experience some of the practical realities of being homeless, which over 80,000 young people across the UK face every day. This amount is equivalent to filling Ashton Gate Stadium four times over.
Each sleeper committed to raising £150 and all funds raised by the Bristol Sleep Out will be used by 1625 Independent People to continue the work they do in supporting the 1,300 young people the charity helps each year; providing warm beds, mental health support and help into education, training and employment.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of OVO Energy commented:
“Bristol is our community, our home. So when we heard about the national Sleep Out campaign, we knew we wanted to step up and make sure Bristol was represented, and of course to spread awareness about the 80,000 young people each year without homes.
“OVO’s work on youth homelessness is one of three missions for our newly launched OVO Foundation, alongside education and protecting the environment. I was very keen when we set up the Foundation that it be about more than just throwing money at problems. Its core purpose is to develop and support smart ideas that we believe will help build a better future, not just for OVO customers but for our employees, our community and the planet.
“Working with 1625ip has been eye opening and inspirational.It’s been a real pleasure collaborating with so many enthusiastic, energetic, smart people on our first Foundation event and I’m proud to see that it has truly captured people’s imaginations and will help to make a real difference to those in our community.”
Along with music from local band, The Mad Apple Circus, Sian Evans from Kosheen and stand-up acts from local comedians, the event also provided a platform for some of the young Bristolians supported by 1625 Independent People to talk about their experiences and show how the support they’ve received changed their lives.
Lanie Sibley, an OVO Energy employee who slept out, commented:
“When walking home every night I pass a number of young homeless people; polite and friendly people. There just aren’t enough places in Bristol for young people to stay, and with the days and nights getting colder I can’t imagine the feeling of being so cold and not having anywhere to warm up.
“After the sleep out I thought I would feel a little tired, but I’d be able to get on with the day. The reality is, my body is aching, I feel ill from tiredness, basic tasks are taking twice as long and all drive has vanished. It’s a tough reality and one that so many young people face, I am just pleased to take part in initiatives such as this to raise as much awareness and money as possible to help those who are vulnerable in our community.”
The majority of sleepers headed straight to work after being ‘moved on’ at 7am without indulging in the everyday comforts that they are used to like a warm shower.
Alex Gallagher, an OVO employee and Sleep Out volunteer added:
“I wanted to take part as I don’t think enough is done to support the young and homelessness and wanted to use my skills for good in providing the catering in the soup kitchen. It was also the first time I had heard about a charity that was dedicated to helping young people in these difficult situations and I believe raising the awareness of this can only help and make things better for the future.”
The Bristol event was one of a total of 13 Sleep Out held in locations across the UK, organised as part of End Youth Homelessness, a national fundraising movement. An incredible 2,000 people are estimated to have slept outdoors nationwide.
Nationally, money raised by Sleep Out will help provide them with a safe place to stay and support to turn their lives around. All funds raised by the Bristol Sleep Out will be going straight to 1625ip.
Dom Wood, 1625ip CEO said:
“A truly amazing night – friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues, OVO staff and volunteers all mucking in together. Everything about last night has re-enforced why we do what we do and that we are supported by a truly generous and altruistic network of people who understand our work.
“Partnering with OVO Energy to host this event has shown how successful business and voluntary communities can be at tackling social issues. The incredible fundraising total will help many young people reboot their lives having faced homeless. No amount of thanks will do you all justice!”
Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West said:
“Youth homelessness is an issue I care passionately about. Last year I hosted a debate in the House of Commons for the Youth Homeless Parliament and so it’s great to see 1625 Independent People and OVO Energy continuing the fight against youth poverty here in Bristol.”
For those who couldn’t make the Sleep Out and still wish to make a donation please Text ZZZZ84 and the amount you wish to give (e.g. ZZZZ84 £2) to 70070.
1625 Independent People (Independent People / 1625ip) exists to support young people aged 16-25 to build independent lives. We do this by helping people find and keep a safe, stable home. We offer non-judgmental support and advice, counselling, training and help finding jobs.
We support over 1300 young people every year.
With over 30 years’ experience of youth services, no other organisation in the area has the same depth of understanding of the sector. Independent People is a strong voluntary
organisation which is strategically relevant and at the forefront of support provision for young homeless people in the South West.
Independent People is an Industrial & Provident Society (no.23964R) – in other words we’re a non-profit making charity. We are always actively looking for new funding.
Currently funded by Supporting People and Children & Young Peoples Services (CYPS) in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, Connexions in South Gloucestershire and Big Lottery Fund for our Future 4 Me and Cashpoint projects. We are delivery partners with Bristol City Council’s Bristol Youth Links.
We get rents and service charges from the young people we house (mostly through housing benefit). We are also funded by one off donations from the general public and regular donors. Please read the Support Us pages of our website to find out more about our fundraising campaigns.
Headquartered in Bristol, OVO Energy is one of the leading independent suppliers in the UK retail market. Since it entered the market in 2009, it’s grown to nearly 400,000 customers, created 600 jobs and it’s currently recruiting for over 100 more positions.
OVO’s business is built around what’s best for customers – we’re on a mission to restore trust and help drive a simpler, fairer energy market.
OVO’s work on youth homelessness is one of three missions for our newly launched OVO Foundation, alongside education and protecting the environment. Its core purpose is to develop and support smart ideas that we believe will help build a better future, not just for OVO customers but for our employees, our community and the planet.
Using a social venture capital approach, The Foundation researches and invests in projects that will enable young people to lead a better life.
At OVO we are committed to finding a better way in everything we do. The OVO Foundation has been established as an important component of that work and as a platform for brave, ground-breaking and innovative action.
It is our purpose to join smart ideas with our entrepreneurial approach and talented individuals. That way we can give young people in our communities the chance of a better future. The Foundation is about making change happen and achieving more together.
Since it began, OVO has supported Cool Earth’s mission to halt deforestation by putting local people in charge. Through over £1.4 million of funding, OVO has contributed to one of the highest impact conservation programmes anywhere in the world. By focusing on testing, evaluation and investing, the OVO Foundation will create the same levels of impact across an even broader set of social and environmental goals.