mhs homes colleagues, their families and even some of their pets abandoned their comfy beds for a night to raise money for a charity that helps homeless and vulnerable people in the Medway towns. 

Those taking part in the Big Sleep Out – including Communications Manager Jodie Moore and her 13-year-old son, Ronnie, - braved the cold, windy weather and slept in the mhs head office car park to get a glimpse of what it’s like to sleep rough. 

Talking about the experience, Jodie said: “It was harder than I expected. I think I had about two hours’ sleep in total. The moon was very bright, so it didn’t get very dark and that made it difficult to sleep.  

“There was a time during the night when some people nearby were making a lot of noise, music and shouting. I felt a bit vulnerable hearing that as I didn’t know who they were or whether they’d come over to us.  

“Also, we were by the river, and I started to worry that there may be rats scurrying around! I heard a few scratching noises at some point, but it turned out to be bits of cardboard flapping around.” 

The “Sleep Outers” were joined by volunteers workers from Gillingham Street Angels who talked about their amazing work during the evening. Funds raised by the Sleep Out will all go to the Angels. 

Asked if it had changed her view of homelessness, Jodie said: “It’s certainly made me more aware of the challenges of being homeless and sleeping rough. Things that I just take for granted, like feeling safe when I’m sleeping. It took me about two days to start to feel warm again. That feeling of comfort is something we all just take for granted but how can you ever feel comfortable if you’re homeless or sleeping on the streets?” 

So far, more than £4,000 has been raised, and there’s still time to add to that. Visit the go fund me page to make a donation. 

As well as gaining much-needed funds from the event, the Street Angels have got at least one new helper too. Since taking part in the Sleep Out, Ronnie has started to volunteer with them.  

Commenting about the night, he said: “It was hard, but I expected it to be. I didn’t sleep very well. It was worth it because I felt like I was doing something to help the Street Angels and other people.”  

More than 274,000 people are homeless in England, including 126,000 children, according to research published by Shelter in December 2021. Of these, 24,140 were in our region, the South East. 

Thank you to everyone who supported this really worthwhile event.