Birketts’ colleagues and several of their family members have raised more than £3,300 after spending a night sleeping in the shadow of Norwich City’s Carrow Road stadium in support of The Benjamin Foundation, a local charity committed to tackling and ending youth homelessness.
The annual Norwich Sleep Out (running since 2015) invites members of the public to spend a night sleeping outside so a young person does not have to, highlighting the potentially life-threatening circumstances of facing a winter of rough sleeping. Still determined to fundraise for this worthy cause in 2020, The Benjamin Foundation replaced Sleep Out with a stay-at-home ‘Stay Up’ challenge, while COVID-19 restrictions remained in place in the UK.
This year a team of 24 people, led by Birketts’ Solicitor, Emma Rees, used cardboard boxes, sleeping bags and blankets to create makeshift beds on the cold tarmac in the Carrow Road grounds. The following day Birketts’ colleagues used their CSR Day (a day’s annual leave each year specifically to be used in support of a charity, as part of Birketts’ Corporate Social Responsibility) to go home and rest after what was for most an uncomfortable and sleepless night. Sleep Out is not intended to replicate the real hardship endured by those sleeping rough, however, the event is very effective in raising awareness of the issues raised by homelessness.
Matt Garrod, Director of Operations at The Benjamin Foundation, said: “Emma and her team fully embraced the spirit of our Norwich Sleep Out, and it was fantastic to see over 120 people join us at Carrow Road after our stay-at-home event in 2020. Young people in Norfolk and Suffolk should never have to face a night sleeping rough or be vulnerably housed – events like this help us towards that goal and to deliver the vital funding we need to provide more than 50,000 safe nights each year.”
Speaking after the event, Emma added: “The response we’ve received for this year’s Norwich Sleep Out has been incredible. Not only is this the largest team ever taking part from Birketts, but over a 140 colleagues, family and friends have donated to our JustGiving page, helping us to raise over £3,300, which will really make a difference to The Benjamin Foundation and the young people the charity supports.
It’s also great to be able to take part in events such as these with the support of the firm; our allocated CSR days are an excellent incentive to get out there and give something back to charities and the communities in which we are based. In the past colleagues have used these days to participate in beach cleans, marathons and all manner of charity events, but many of the team put theirs to good use the day after Sleep Out to catch up on some much-needed sleep.”
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