If you read my last post, you'll know that last night I took part in CEO Sleepout, a charity event taking place in Cardiff where business owners from across Wales spent a night under the stars, with the aim of raising money for local homeless charities.
Is there any point participating in something like this if you haven’t learned anything?
Let me break it down for you.
I spent the night sleeping in the protected walls of Cardiff Castle. I was with a bunch of good people where we laughed and danced. We were able to buy soup, pies and beer which kept us full, warm and pretty tipsy.
I wore three layers including waterproof/windproof socks. A thermal hat, gloves and scarf. I took along a little camping mattress and nice cosy sleeping bag.
Sleepout Cardiff was a very fun evening that resembled a few networking events that I’m involved with. The difference being that we were all dressed as if we were heading off to the South Pole.
So when I woke at 5am to the bellowing sounds of a dying wildebeest (Siôn Tudur's snoring) I took time to reflect on what I was doing.
The fact is that I had a terrible sleep. Sirens, street cleaners, helicopters, plummeting temperature and drunken revellers. The sounds of the City and the elements kept me awake. Bear in mind that I even found a sheltered spot which protected me from the early morning rain. Had I got rained on I can’t describe how that would have ruined my night. I may well have stormed to my car. I wanted to get to warmth and comfort and get there soon.
So I started thinking; sleep is such a vital part of being able to function, how the hell can people without homes or a roof over their heads cope? Sleeping in a doorway, the dangers of the surroundings, not knowing who may be approaching, the sounds, unprotected, hungry, much colder than I was, much less prepared. Not knowing how or what you’re going eat the following day. Not knowing if they’re going to be moved on at any moment. Moved onto where?
Having to go through this day after day after day...
Is it any wonder that homeless people go through a cycle of merely surviving? Is it any wonder that many use alcohol or drugs to numb the senses?
I spent one night in relative luxury knowing that my life is mapped out and I had money in my wallet. These people made some wrong choices or had some bad life experiences and they go through something much worse than this daily.
So to all of the people and organisations that work tirelessly at supporting the young, vulnerable and homeless, even when it gets thrown in your face and when it seems that some people just can’t be helped; I salute you.
To the south Wales business community who participated in last nights event and raised over £60,000 for a selection of local and national charities; give yourselves a massive pat on the back.
To my friends at Solas Cymru who opened my eyes to the plight and problems that the homeless face; thank you for changing my attitude.
And to anyone else reading this and doesn’t fall into those categories, don’t forget that homeless people are humans. They’re someone’s son, daughter or parent who have lacked guidance and support at a vital time in their lives and now they’re alone. Look at them as humans and give them respect. Never give up on them and don’t stop giving where you can.
Times are tough for a lot of people. We can’t help everyone and can’t support every great cause, but this is one that I’ve been proud to get behind and I’d like to thank each and every person who donated. This is where your money is going:
Llamau — A step in the right direction for homeless young people and vulnerable women in Wales
Cardiff Food Bank — Emergency food for local people in crisis
Service Leavers Wales — The relief of unemployment and financial hardship for the benefit of ex-service personnel and their dependents
If you’ve not donated and would like to, you can do here: www.justgiving.com/Mike-Jordan1