A cardboard box for the night – so others don’t have to

Posted: 6th September 2017

Elaine Pritchard Photo

By: Elaine Pritchard

A cardboard box for the night – so others don’t have to

It’s a challenge that could put the strongest marriage to the test, but my husband and I have signed up to spend a night sleeping in adjoining cardboard boxes at our local football stadium.

Burton YMCA is holding its 9th annual sleepout in November at Burton Albion’s football stadium, thanks to support from the club’s Chairman Ben Robinson.

There is some cover from the weather in the stands (and access to toilets) and you are given a cardboard box (and some bubblewrap if you are lucky) and you get the chance to put on as many layers of warm clothing as you like. Most importantly, the next morning you get to go home to your comfy bed.

Compared to what rough sleepers endure, the sleepout is luxurious. One of the ways the YMCA promotes it is to say ‘Could you spend a night in a cardboard box so others don’t have to?’

It’s the YMCA’s major fundraiser of the year and last year more than £33,000 was raised through sponsorship. This year they are aiming for £35,000. The services they provide include housing, a foodbank, mediation and counselling, outreach work and much more. Sadly, its services are needed today more than ever – and yet its funding has been cut.

My husband braved the sleepout for the first time last year. I did ask if he wanted me to come with him, but he was quite happy to head off on his own. Make of that what you will.

However, Burton YMCA is the chosen charity for 2017 for WiRE Burton so I am joining him, whether he likes it or not.

I am delighted that lots of WiRE women are signing up to take part too. Last year our members who took part were Paula Senior, fundraising officer for YMCA Burton, Lisa Satchwell, Clare Hodson-Walker and Carol Sewell. This year Lisa is rallying more of her networking connections than ever to put together a Sleepout Sistas team.

As well as the Pirelli Stadium sleepout on Saturday November 11, there is a sleepout in Tamworth on Friday November 10 and even an extreme sleepout in a churchyard!

If any other Midlands WiRE women want to sign up to take part, you can book your place here.

If you want to sponsor me and Bill – and if you do I promise to update you about how our relationship fared under the strain – the link to our fundraising page is http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Pritchards