Late last month I slept outside, next to the harbour in Bristol City Centre.
Why? I was raising funds for 1625 Independent People, a local charity that supports young people in Bristol who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
I was joined by fellow fundraisers from ACH, Bristol City Council and a large turnout from the team at 1625!
1625 Independent People were one of the first neighbours to welcome us to our new site in Bristol, all the way back in early 2019. We have helped raised funds for them ever since.
For over 30 years, the charity has provided essential services to young people and partnered with agencies across Bristol to provide a broad range of care for young people. They find secure homes, teach life-skills, offer advice and support people in gaining access to training and job opportunities. Most importantly, they help young people to live happy and independent lives.
These are young people who have faced huge barriers and I was privileged enough to hear their stories. Ahead of their Sleep Out event, we heard some incredibly heart-breaking, yet inspiring stories, directly from some of very people, whose lives have been changed for the better by 1625.
The Sleep Out is an annual event to raise vital funds for this hard-working and life-changing local charity. The money they raise, really does make a difference to people’s lives.
Last year 1625 saw an increase of 30% in new referrals to their services, and a staggering 1,600 more young people presenting as homeless in the UK. Heading out of a global pandemic that saw a dramatic increase in loneliness and isolation, alongside a loss of jobs, the most vulnerable groups amidst the cost-of-living crisis are those already experiencing financial hardship, many of whom now face an increased and very real risk of homelessness.
Whilst I raised just over £500, I was joined by almost 100 others who raised funds for this year’s event. Overall, 893 people donated money to this great cause, helping to raise over £21,000 for the incredible work 1625 Independent people deliver.
The money raised will go towards supporting specialist projects and services to empower young people to gain the skills to overcome their trauma, and build the confidence they need to achieve their goals and thrive as independent adults.
I felt very humbled by the entire experience. I felt lucky that the weather held up, mostly, with just a little bit of rain waking me up around 5am. I felt lucky to have a home of my own and hugely grateful for my current set of circumstances, with a full-time job and loving family.
It is said that we’re all just a few paydays, or one bad event, away from becoming homeless. People do work hard, but luck plays such a huge part in our lives; from the parents who raise us, to where we are born or brought-up and the experiences we have lived through. We must never forget this.
The 1625 Independent People Sleep Out was a humbling reminder to always have empathy; to think more about others and to fully appreciate my own circumstances.
Thanks to all those who have donated and if anyone would still like to donate, my fundraising page remains open at https://1625ip.enthuse.com/pf/liam-ronan-chlond