A cold, sleepless night – but all in a good cause
Solicitor Claire Fraser reports:
"When trainee solicitor Mohamed Abdi and I took part in the annual Sleep Out arranged by multiple homelessness charities across Bristol in February, we had no idea just what a long, cold night we had ahead of us! We joined Bristol Junior Lawyers Division raising money for The Julian Trust, a local emergency night shelter. The event marked the end of national homelessness week with the aim of raising awareness of the growing number of people without a home including rough sleepers, people reliant on hostels and shelters and 'sofa-surfers' and of course, money too.
The event began at 10pm and was held in the grounds of Pip 'n' Jay Church near Old Market. Around 250-300 attended, the vast majority of whom managed to stay outside for the whole night. After cups of tea and soup everyone began to settle down in their make shift beds. I had as many layers of clothing on as possible, two hats, gloves, four pairs of socks and my sleeping bag. We had also collected some old cardboard and plastic sheeting to try and keep as warm and dry as possible. We soon discovered though that as soon as you lie down on the ground, no matter how many layers you have underneath you, the cold starts to seep up.
Sleep was definitely not easy but I did manage to grab a few hours in chunks. But every time I woke up it became harder and harder to warm up and get back to sleep. Finally, I woke up once again, shivering, thinking that I just could not last any longer and I'd have to give in. I looked at the time and thankfully it was 5.45am - breakfast was at 6am. I could do it! We packed up as quickly as our numb fingers would allow and made our way home to warm beds. This was just the smallest taste of rough sleeping and it made me realise how vital The Julian Trust is."
- Bristol Junior Lawyers Division has raised £1,195.00 (£1,477 including gift aid) so far, which is enough to run the emergency shelter for one week.
- Claire works in Bristol in the disputes team and Mohamed is a trainee solicitor currently working with the new homes team in Bradley Stoke.