A team from a surveying firm are among more than 100 people taking part in tonight's - 3 December - annual Threshold BIG Swindon Sleep Out.
It is the third time White Horse Surveyors have taken part in the fundraising - and awareness-raising - event held by the town's best-known homeless charity.
On a day to day basis the team help people buy and sell homes across England and Wales, but they are also aware that not everyone is so lucky to have a roof over their head each night. The last year may have seen a boom in the housing market but with rising property prices, the end to furlough plus continued struggles with covid, homelessness is as big a struggle as ever for many.
Company Brand Activation Manager Elizabeth Graney and daughter Izzy will once again be part of the team representing White Horse Surveyors with the entire company supporting the fundraiser.
Last year, when the sleep out was home-based because of the pandemic, they both completed it at their family stables, with other team members sleeping out in their gardens, but this year they have been looking forward to catching up with everyone and joining other fundraisers at the Supermarine Sport Club in Swindon.
Elizabeth said: “Sleeping out on a damp, cold, maybe even freezing Friday evening in December isn’t everyone’s idea of fun and I must admit my body probably won’t thank me. However it’s just one night for us. Those that are homeless don’t have the option to go home, warm up and catch up on sleep as we will over the weekend!
"This year will be especially challenging as I have been struggling with my health, but many homeless people have similar challenges too!”
Izzy, 14, enjoys camping out all year around with the RAF Air Cadets. She is especially looking to joining the event again this year at the sport club.
She said: “I may enjoy camping even in the winter but after a long weekend I am always glad to go home and warm up again afterwards! Sadly, many people aren’t as lucky as me. This event allows me to help in a small way.”
Threshold says being homeless is often just one of the many challenges people are faced with once on the streets. Mental health, other physical illnesses, finding a job and even personal security all factor. The team at White Horse Surveyors are proud to support Threshold Housing Link and the work they do all year around.
The BIG Swindon SleepOut is Threshold’s main fund-raising event of the year and therefore essential in supporting their activities.
Michael Keenan, Threshold’s chief executive, said: “We’re very excited about hosting everyone tonight. This year we’ve seen a record number of registrations for our event, with 183 people signing up.
"I love our SleepOut event, it really is very special because it brings the most extraordinarily kind-hearted individuals from across the region together in one place for one night, in solidarity with a truly wonderful cause.
"We’ve children as young as five and six with their older brothers and sisters, Mum’s and Dad’s and the eldest participant is 84, so it’s a whole of life spectrum event. So many Swindon communities are represented with us to enjoy the entertainment, food and exhibition we will host, and our fantastic Threshold team and volunteers will be here to ensure it’s a safe and successful event for everyone."