How to sleep easy for YMCA Derbyshire

One of the great things about Calm In A Box has been the opportunity to become involved with other organisations doing amazing work to help others. As part of my personal journey, it’s helped me make deeper connections with what’s really important to me and motivated me to get involved in new things that I don’t think I would have been fully open to previously.

tent or box?

One of those things was signing up for this year’s annual Sleep Easy for YMCA Derbyshire. Their biggest fundraiser of the year takes place every March at Derbyshire County Cricket Club and people join together to spend one night sleeping rough so others don’t have to. With Coronavirus, this year the event was held virtually with people setting up their sleeping spaces in their gardens. I had a bit of a moral dilemma whether to opt for the tent or to do it ‘properly’ with a cardboard box – although I was kindly assured that sleeping in the tent still counted. So I put it to my Instagram Calm In A Box community via a poll to make the final decision. It was a close run thing but I was a little relieved that the tent came out on top!

icy night

Nevertheless on the evening of Friday 26th March, it was absolutely freezing and I’m really not sure how I’d have managed in a cardboard box. Sitting by my little fire pit as the evening drew on, I was really glad of the organised Zoom quiz for those taking part to come together. Just before the quiz, it also began to rain and the wind began to blow so I was so grateful to shelter in the tent with some online company and then, given the weather outside I set in for the night. It was so very cold, but I did manage to get some sleep waking up at 4.30am to quite a bit of ice on the outside of the tent.

a new dawn

I was so glad to have completed the Sleep Easy for such a great cause and the it was interesting to observe how the whole experience brought about such a wide range of emotions. I was delighted to hit my fundraising target a couple of days before and it was great to connect with others to share what I was doing and receive their messages of support on the night. It really showed me how important connection with others and opening up about yourself is for positive wellbeing.

walk a mile in their shoes

Without a doubt, it also helped me really empathise with people who find themselves in a position where they end up having to sleep rough. I’m obviously aware that people are homeless but I’d never really stopped to think about all the ways it can impact on a fellow human being. Physically it’s tough – again it made me so grateful to have other people on the end of the phone, a toilet inside my house and the chance to have a hot meal before I went out into the garden for the evening. I could go back inside and add some extra layers of clothing if I wanted to and I didn’t have to worry about how to keep my belongings safe. And apart from a possible visit from unwelcome wildlife, I didn’t have to worry about whether I was going to be safe whilst I slept.

a helping hand

Mentally your mind goes into overdrive with so many different thoughts, feelings and worries, and this is just from sleeping rough for one night to raise funds. I can see how vital the support of YMCA Derbyshire is to support people to find a positive way through challenges with mental health, loneliness, isolation and unemployment along with many others. They help people who find themselves sleeping rough rebuild their confidence to find a way out of homelessness through a wide range of interventions such as providing temporary accommodation, mentorship, education and employment opportunities and health and wellbeing support.

digging deep

Even after the toughest of years, it was great to hear that nearly £20,000 was raised, and although I made a very small contribution to that, it was even greater to be part of it.
You can find out more about YMCA Derbyshire at http://www.ymcaderbyshire.org.uk

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