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Bringing people together for the 11th annual Sleepout in Burton-on-Trent

Thu 14 Nov 2019

Friday 8th November was the 11th annual Sleepout for YMCA Burton.

A mix of 214 adults and children gave up their beds for one night to raises vital funds for the charity which has seen a funding cut of over £400,000 in the past 4 years.

Participants had the options of two venues, the Xtreme Sleeput at St Modwens Church graveyard in the town centre which is dubbed “Zero star accommodation” and Burton Albion Football Clubs home ground; Pirelli Stadium where they slept in the tunnels or the outdoor area of the grounds.

All areas of the community were represented which included school children, church groups, community groups, business leaders, work colleagues, individuals and friends as well as the Deputy Commissioner Sue Arnold, and Mayor of East Staffordshire Councillor Colin Wileman.

The evening started with registration of all participants who then collected their cardboard boxes – which were generously donated by Burton Albion FC Chairman Ben Robinson, and bubble wrap before finding a place for their box. A soup kitchen opened up where people could get their one and only drink for the evening before listening to the singers at Buskers corner who included local talent Chris Baldwin and Catriona Jolley before listening to speeches by Ben Robinson and YMCA Burton CEO Paul Laffey. Pirelli stadium participants enjoyed some sandwiches were supplied by long-time supporter, Soubhi Wolley from Subways in Burton. 

The temperature dropped to 1 degree overnight and a lot of people were waking up due to the cold but remarking that it was at least not raining as it had done the year before, but due to the rain in the week, the conditions at the graveyard were very hard-going and slippy underfoot.

Elsewhere on the evening, 5 plucky YMCA Burton shop staff and volunteers were staging their own version of Sleepout by sleeping in the Shop for the evening. Not content with working or volunteering their hours all week, the five decided to spend the whole night there too!

Fundraising Officer Paula Senior, whose organisation of the Sleepout saw it running flawlessly for the evening said; “This is my fourth year of organising Sleepout and every year I am blown away by the numbers of people willing to take part and for the sponsorship they raise – thank you so much to the participants and their sponsors.

I also would like to thank our Volunteers who ensure that every person coming to Sleepout is greeted with a friendly face and efficiency. We could not do it without you.”

CEO of YMCA Burton, Paul Laffey has completed his 11th Sleepout this year, he said: “My 11th Sleepout and it is as exciting as the first! I opted for the Graveyard again this time, I believe this is the closest thing you would get to experiencing a night on the streets. The conditions were tough – very cold and damp but at least it wasn’t raining!

A huge thanks to the Staff and Volunteers who make this such a great event, it is always great to hear people’s stories and motivation of taking part.

Here is to the 12th!”

YMCA Burton are still taking donations for the Sleepout, if you would like to help them reach their £55,000 target then you can still sponsor them via their website.



Photo’s attached:

Credit Photographers: Alex Cantril-Jones from ACJ Media, Al Marsden from iMargo Photography and Tony Wall from Arthur James Photography.