This year’s Virtual Eden Sleep Out saw people joining from their own homes, and gardens

We would like to extend our huge thanks to everyone who supported St Petrocs and donated during the The Virtual Eden Sleep Out, which took place on Thursday 19th November.

The seventh edition of this annual event was very different to previous years, unable to take place in person between the Biomes at the Eden Project as it usually would, it instead played out virtually.

Event participants joined in from their own homes or gardens and connected digitally, engaging with a programme of entertainment shared via a stream of posts and videos, conversing via typed comments.

It was a dry but chilly evening for those who slept outside this year. There were people sleeping in dens, vehicles, summerhouses, tents and on patios, some with the warmth of a fire and some without. We saw people sleeping indoors, on the floor, on sofas and in blanket dens.

The variety of places participants chose to sleep this year reflected the often lesser talked about ‘hidden homeless’. Rough sleeping is thought to be the most visible manifestation of homelessness, however, many of those experiencing homelessness opt to sleep out of sight, for example in tents, garages or in less visible locations, this also includes sofa surfing with friends and staying in squats.

Over the years the St Petrocs outreach team has found people in all sorts of hidden-away places, including tents in woods, garages, sheds, derelict buildings, even caves in cliffs!

Event participants shared photos of their sleeping set ups, and whether indoors or out, each situation reflected some of the challenges faced by those who experience homelessness for real.

This year without any age restrictions in place with people joining from their own homes, younger participants were able to get involved too. One of our youngest supporters this year was just 8 years old! This has certainly been one of the advantages of needing to take to a virtual event. We have been able to encourage a wider ranged audience and we think starting conversations and education around homelessness at a young age is really positive.

Entertainment on the evening included signing from Suzie Mac, poems, a talk and reading from author, Raynor Winn, an art workshop, a yoga workshop, and talks about St Petrocs and The Amber Foundation, both of which are beneficiaries of the event.

The event helps to raise essential funds for St Petrocs. This winter being set to be one of the hardest we have faced, with increased weather extremes due to changing climates, the economy, and the added pressure of COVID-19.

We would like to thank our fundraisers, young and old-er! Your funds really do help us to ensure we can continue to provide all of our services for our clients throughout the winter and beyond. We would also like to thank the Amber Foundation, Suzie Mac, Raynor Winn, Helen Trevaskis, Luisa the Yoga PT, and everyone else who contributed talks, stories, and entertainment on the night.

Special thanks go to the Eden Project for hosting the event again this year albeit virtually. We hope and look forward to being back between the Biomes next year.

Dave Brown from St Petrocs said – “What a night! I slept in the garden in a tent, but froze before bedding down, sitting outside, keeping up with the virtual event on Facebook. So many people took part and raised money. It was fantastic to see everyone’s set-ups, and to know that so many people are behind the aim to end street homelessness. Thank you to The Eden Project, The Amber Foundation and every person who supported the event. We can prevent people having to endure the cold and the wet, night after night!”