YMCA Sleepout 2019
Callum Thorpe – 13/01/2020 – 15:40
A freezing November night
On November 8th 2019, the Footfox Team had the privilege of filming the Burton YMCA Xtreme Sleepout 2019. Before I go into more detail, this is what the YMCA is all about….
The YMCA are an amazing charity that helps anyone who is in need. They are committed to helping the homeless, providing safe environments across their shelters. Burton YMCA alone has 71 rooms across three sites. The YMCA also runs food banks. Supporting those in need includes giving both practical and emotional support so that those who are in need can address all their issues and can start to move on and have a brighter future
What is the Sleepout?
The Sleepout event is their main fundraising event in the year and you’ll have to keep reading to find out the 2019 total. The Sleepout takes place at two locations in Burton- Upon- Trent on the same night. There is the more family friendly Pirelli Stadium where the youngest participant was 4 YEARS OLD!! The other location is known as the Xtreme Sleepout and that takes places in the graveyard of St Modwen’s Church.
Upon arrival, each participant is given their own cardboard box, they may also bring additional items such as tarpaulin and tape. Despite wearing plenty of clothes and having sleeping bags, participants are still subject to the freezing temperatures that homeless people have to face on a daily basis. Over the two locations a total of 217 selfless men, woman and children of all ages participated to help make it the events biggest year yet! One attendee at the Xtreme Sleepout was Councillor Colin Wileman, the Mayor of East Staffordshire. Being the first Mayor to take part in the Xtreme version, he said “It’s a lot cooler than you realise. When you think about people sleeping on the streets and what they go through, we can’t possibly understand.”
How we filmed it
It was a great new experience to be filming the YMCA Sleepout 2019. While we have filmed outdoors many times, this was to be our first night shoot. Before I continue, I would just like to point out that I do see the irony in me writing about the challenges we faced whilst filming a charity event for the homeless.
We arrived at the church at 8pm in time for us to film participants arriving and setting up their shelters for the night. Filming the welcome speech meant a nice break from the cold in the church but it was soon back outside to continue filming set-up and begin the interviews. Interviewing the participants and the YMCA volunteers was great as it allowed us to understand the significance of the event and the YMCA. It was always great to hear why someone chose to take part or why they work for the YMCA. It was their sentiment that we wanted to capture and make sure was a running theme throughout the documentary. Filming for the evening ended once the majority of people were tucked up in their shelters and for us it was home time, once we had scrapped the ice off the car.
The FootFox Team were back the next morning in time for the 5am wake up call. A much-welcomed breakfast was waiting for everyone in the church. For us it meant more interviews and a final chance to capture the spirit of the event and the importance of the YMCA.
That night we went to sleep appreciating our beds a whole lot more.
The FootFox team were very humbled to work on this project for such a great cause. Meeting the participants and the many volunteers and workers gave us the perfect insight as to why events like the sleepout and organisations like the YMCA are vital for battling the homelessness crisis. We would like to thank everyone involved in Burton YMCA and Sleepout 2019 for allowing us to tell your story and highlight the increasingly important work that you do. Finally, a huge congratulations to all the participants for raising a massive £47,962!!
We hope our documentary helps in the cause and we look forward to supporting the YMCA in the future. If you would like to know more about Burton YMCA or the sleepout event then the links are below, any support will be hugely appreciated.
Finally, please enjoy the documentary we made.