Last Friday, over 50 supporters of Cambridge United, global campaigning charity Street Child United and homelessness charity Jimmy's Cambridge took to the stands of the Abbey Stadium to raise an incredible £20,000 towards the future work of both organisations.
The evening consisted of talks by Cambridge United Community Trust, Jimmy's and Street Child United representatives, followed by a quiz before the group headed to the stands for the night. All the money raised through the Sleepout will be divided between Street Child United and projects at Jimmy's Cambridge delivered in partnership with the Cambridge United Community Trust.
Ben Szreter, CEO of Cambridge United Community Trust said, "It was fantastic to be able to raise so much money for some brilliant charities and to get a brief glimpse into what street-connected people in Cambridge and across the world face every day. It was a special evening with the community coming together on a freezing Friday night to sleep in the Abbey stadium and one that will live long in mine and everyone else attending's memory."
John Wroe, CEO of Street Child United said, "The Cambridge United Street Child United Sleep out was a huge success. We do this to show solidarity with homeless people in Cambridge and across the world who don't have a choice about where they sleep. We do this one night a year- sadly many people sleep out every night.
It was special doing this at the Abbey Stadium - in a football ground. Our football grounds are a significant places to us- places of meaning where we invest a huge amount of hope where we shout and scream and sing, places where we have memories that no one can ever take away- places where we've had a dreams broken. And now we have a new memory – our own personal piece of history at the Abbey. My daughter and I slept on cardboard pitch side in the Away Managers dug out – I'll always look across from the Habbin and know that we spent 10 hours, not sleeping, in that dug out at minus 4.
From a SCU perspective it was amazing to share our stories with members of the Cambridge United family – we were made to feel really welcome by everyone and the generosity of our communities in supporting us all was staggering. We are holding a World Cup for 216 street connected children in Red Square Moscow in May – young people who initially don't have birth certificates, lets alone passports or visa's- it's a tall order but one that gets easier knowing that the whole world is on our side. I got the impression that everyone who was sleeping out on Friday night was with us. We were not alone, Cambridge United, Community Trust, Club, fans and players were on the journey with us and that means a great deal to me."
Sandra Stevenson, Jimmy's Cambridge volunteer who took part in the sleepout said, "It was a very realistic challenge of sleeping in the stadium in extreme temperatures to raise money and awareness for the work of Jimmy's do across Cambridge. I was delighted to be involved to support the two great charities."