Way back in December ’19, when doing something remote from the office was a novelty and not a lock-down necessity, I decided to sleep out on the street in front of my house to bring attention to the plight of London’s homeless, ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside…‘. As I remarked at the time, it wasn’t the cold or the sense of vulnerability that really hit me, but the complete boredom.
Fast forward to the present, and we have all endured something of a life-changing experience over the past 12 or so months. Aside from those that have faced the brutality of what is first and foremost a health crisis, the majority of us have been in the relatively fortunate position of being able to moan about being confined to our homes; a far cry from those that went into Covid without a roof over their heads, or those that have found themselves destitute as a consequence of the pandemic.
I had always planned on re-running my sleep out experience, but I am proud to say that in reprising, a number of my Iceni colleagues have also indicated their attention to participate – remotely of course – from the (un)comfort of their own stair wells, bathroom floors, front and back gardens, and any other space that is the antithesis of a safe and comfortable sleep chamber. Moreover, to make a virtue of the admirable work that LandAid are already committed to undertaking, we have decided to join their organised event, which takes place on 11 March – LandAid SleepOut 2021
Should you wish to participate, we would be delighted to take you under the Iceni blanket for the event. We cannot promise much in the way of street entertainment, and the extent of warmth and protection will be entirely down to your own predilection. However, we will be keeping in regular contact with one another via our special WhatsApp group, which we hope will be a source of solace and motivation to push on through the night (and it is only one night, after all).
Equally, by its very definition, sleeping out on the street really should be a last resort, and one that in a civilised, and hopefully still progressive, society no one should have to entertain by choice. Consequently, if you would be willing to make a small donation to LandAid’s cause, we would be absolutely delighted to serve as facilitator. Equally, we would be just as pleased to make specific donations to local charitable organisations and initiatives across the country, and so have also set up a parallel Just Giving page.
We can probably be thankful that LandAid chose to hold their event in March and not January or early February this year, as that really would have been a different story. The fact that we have the luxury of picking when to hold this event is absolutely not lost on us, and a reminder that we should be sanguine and not self-righteous. If you can participate or contribute, we would be extremely grateful.
Best wishes, and sleep well.