The 9th Eden Sleepout has taken place at the home of the iconic biomes. Participants arrived with their bedding and were further supplied with thick paper bags and cardboard to bed down with. Extremely grateful for these, many people commented on the fact that this would make the experience easier, but those who have to sleep outside every night often don’t have the benefit of either.


Most got busy straight away finding a corner or making a space with friends for the bedding, others took time to take in the event, bedding down later. The coffee machine was busy and the firepit a welcome source of heat. Eden’s amazing team of chefs volunteered their time for free and ran fun pizza making workshops and provided a vegetarian curry alternative too to keep everyone from getting hungry. It was a time to come together as a community but also be mindful of the struggles people face who have to sleep outdoors every night face because of a lack of options.

Amazing music was provided by Carclaze Voices, Suzie Mac and Martin Skews. A range of talks were also given to the gathered crowd. Gail Muller recounted her story of overcoming adversity to achieve balanced health. Suzie Mac spoke of own recent health challenges. Both highlighted how physical health problems had severely affected their mental health too, with the aim of helping people understand that struggles can happen to any of us. When they do, the existence of a support network or not can make the difference between getting through it or being pushed into homelessness. Both speakers highlighted the importance of their families in helping them through.

Helen Trevaskis from Streetdraw24 was also present and spoke and spent the night. Helen was launching the first of many outdoor exhibitions of portraits from the People. Project. A collaboration between Helen, Gavan Goulder and St Petrocs, the exhibitions will highlight the diverse range of people and backgrounds that are  affected by housing insecurity in Cornwall, with the aim of challenging preconceptions of homelessness and those it affects.

Rebecca Fry from Amber Foundation and Henry Meacock from St Petrocs gave overviews and updates from their respective organisations. Henry thanked the attendees for their support and detailed how the money raised would go directly to helping St Petrocs fund its emergency accommodation provision this winter. The service has become an integral part of St Petrocs’ work, helping people in Cornwall facing homelessness during the coldest months. With numbers rising dramatically at the moment, funds raised from events like the sleepout will play a vital role in sustaining the service.


Henry said: "I'd like to say a sincere thank you to everyone. The fundraising from the evening will go directly to support our emergency accommodation service this winter. Homelessness is a human rights crisis. It can be resolved, and it can be prevented.

It is wonderful to see the community coming together at events like the Sleepout to be part of the solution. Together, we will work to end homelessness in Cornwall.”

Henry went on to introduce Luke who has stayed in St Petrocs accommodation and engaged with the Vocational Development Programme. Luke has moved on from St Petrocs now and has his own flat and a job. Luke spoke about his past, how he seized opportunities provided by St Petrocs and where he’s at now. He made the salient point that engaging the Vocational Development Programme has provided him with the platform and skills to hopefully never need St Petrocs services again.

Luke’s talk was welcomed with warm applause from the crowd, and he later bedded down with everyone else after a fun wind down yoga session. Luke had this to say to anyone struggling and feeling like there was no way out:

"There is light at the end of the tunnel, and you can come out the other side of it. As hopeless as things seem right now, there is time for you to be happy again. Persevere."

It was a wonderful night full of community spirit, but also introspection. Thank you to everyone that took part and to Eden for hosting again. We look forward to seeing everyone at the 10th Eden Sleepout.