YOUR Sleepout for DENS
Nearly 400 individuals, businesses and groups including Guides, Brownies and Scouts around Hertfordshire were determined that current restrictions would not deter the DENS Sleepout from going ahead last Friday. Instead of the usual mass get-together in school grounds, everyone was happy to swap their cosy beds for their gardens, garages, floors, and even cupboards, to raise vital funds for local homeless charity, DENS.
And it wasn’t just people who took part! DENS Community and Events Manager, Nicky Maxwell-Braithwaite explains: ‘Being able to sleepout at home meant that people’s furry friends were also invited including many dogs and cats but also guinea pigs, rabbits and even a parrot!’ Nicky adds: ‘We set up a live broadcast on YouTube and Zoom from 7-9pm and despite a bit of WiFi chaos and an element of stress, it was so much fun and wonderful to see people setting up their beds in all sorts of places and snuggle down with their family and pets.’
Ziggy the Dalmatian puppy – aged just 9 weeks barked, ‘Brilliant! These hoomans are bonkers, but it’s cosy cuddling up on a warm sleeping bag tonight’. His owners, the Morgan family, from Berkhamsted, were delighted their new family member could join in the fun. Jacob, 12, loved it: ‘Me and Dad slept all night in the garage. It was a bit chilly but nice and dry. I am SO going to sleepout outside next year,’ whilst sister Poppy, age 9, had a slightly different experience: ‘We made our tent in the garage look really pretty with fairy lights and fluffy blankets but I still didn’t like sleeping in a dusty garage so I moved back into the house at midnight and made up a bed in the cupboard and slept there just like Harry Potter!’
Fran Martin, Head of Fundraising, is delighted with the outcome: ‘Like all charities, national or local, it’s been a tough year for fundraising. I am really proud of our small team who transformed this flagship mass event into a virtual one, demonstrating immense creativity and innovation as they adapted to brand new ways of fundraising. Nicky and Guy quickly learnt live broadcast skills and were able to deliver a fantastic night of online entertainment, joined by both Foodbank manager Wade, and Michelle, who gave exclusive tours, and great insight into our services.’
Didn’t take part but want to help? You can support the Sleepout by donating via text by texting DENSSLEEPOUT followed by your donation to 70085 or through their website www.dens.org.uk. Every penny raised will go towards people in Dacorum facing homelessness, poverty and social exclusion, to help them take the next positive steps in their lives.