Could you spare one night to ‘sleep out’ for the homeless?

Caritas Diocese of Brentwood is inviting people to join this year’s Sponsored Sleepout on 31 March from 9pm to the following morning at 8:30am. There are three locations to choose from: Lexden, Forest Gate and Hornchurch. As in previous years, the Sleepout will raise awareness and money to help our local homeless charities and the Brentwood Catholic Youth Service. “The idea is to gain a better understanding of how it feels for those sleeping rough throughout the Diocese,” says Director of Caritas Brentwood, Siân Thomas-Cullinan. “So why not get a group of friends together to share the experience and raise money for homeless charities?”

In previous years the Sleepout has successfully raised thousands for homeless charities. In 2020, for example, the grand total of £10,157.46 was shared between a number of charities including the NEWWay Homeless project and Caritas Anchor House in Newham, the Basildon Emergency Night Shelter and Project 58:7, Basildon and the Southend Winter Night Shelter. It also provided some funds to support young people in financial hardship to attend events and pilgrimages with BCYS.

Last year, different parishes raised money for charities local to them. The Romford sleepers, for example, managed to raise £2,750 for Caritas Ukraine and homelessness charity Caritas Anchor House. After the sleepout Fr Dominic tweeted: “A clear and freezing dawn breaks and the group huddle in their sleeping bags. The words they most often use for the night just passed are “cold” and “long”. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be facing a day on the streets and many more nights sleeping outside.”

Siân has written to parishes to encourage those with Confirmation groups/youth groups/young leaders to take part in this initiative. “It can be used as an opportunity to bond and grow as a group and work alongside one another to raise funds for a very worthy cause,” she says. “Each location will include a time of prayer and a testimony from someone who is working with or who has been affected by homelessness in our Diocese.”

The three locations to choose from are:

  • St Teresa of Lisieux Church, Lexden
  • The Campion School, Hornchurch
  • St Antony’s Primary, Forest Gate

Those wishing to take part will need to register by emailing: [email protected]. Once registered they will be given information about their chosen location, a sponsor form to begin fundraising and information about the schedule of the evening. All information can be found at