As we enter a new year and a new decade, I can’t think of many better resolutions to make than determining to help end youth homelessness by signing up to one of the LandAid SleepOuts next month.
After the immense success of the 2018 SleepOut, which raised £269,000, we thought the best way to move onwards and upwards was to give even more of you the opportunity to brave one night out to end youth homelessness. With that in mind, I am truly delighted that we are holding three SleepOuts across the UK in February, in Birmingham, Bristol and London.
It can be so easy, in the hurley-burley of returning to work after a long Christmas break, to lose sight of today’s wider societal picture as we wade through our inboxes, regaling each other with stories of seeing family and friends.
But for 22,000 young people in the last month, there was no festive cheer, no returning to a warm home and no exchanging of presents with loved ones under a merrily lit tree. What there was, was hardship, struggle, and no sense of security or safety in a time when most of us are lucky enough to have both of those in abundance.
I’ll be joining 1,000 of you taking part in the SleepOut series. By spending just one night out in the cold, just one night away from the comfort and safety of our homes, we will be helping to prevent homeless young people in the UK from doing the same.
I know that taking part in our event will not remotely come close to replicating the horrific experience young homeless people face each night.
But it will also help us to break through the fog of our post-holiday malaise, and to mentally engage with what is one of the most pressing national concerns we face today.
And most of all, it will make a real difference. Every penny raised by every person taking part will go directly towards projects helping to give vulnerable young people the help they need – providing not only a better, safer today, but a far more positive tomorrow than they currently face.