Robes SleepOut returns to Southwark Cathedral

The annual SleepOut returned to the Cathedral with an evening of entertainment and more in aid of Robes.

On Friday 25 November, hundreds of people joined to support the annual SleepOut in aid of the Robes Project. So far, over £27,000 has been pledged on the charity’s JustGiving platform, with donations continuing still being made.

Started 12 years ago, the annual Southwark Cathedral SleepOut is the homeless charity’s main fundraising event. Each year, groups from across the Southwark Diocese give up the comfort of their homes to sleep out in the churchyard to raise awareness of homelessness.

Those sleeping out and their supporters were treated to a lively evening of entertainment including a silent disco and live jazz performed by guitarist John Etheridge. The entertainment continued with a game of Thou Shalt Not Lie featuring the Dean of Southwark, Fr Grant Bolton-Debbage, actor Jonathan Livingstone and TV presenter George McGavin who also joined the rest of those sleeping under the shadow of the Cathedral tower and the nearby Shard. The event concluded in the morning with a short act of worship and a shared meal.

This year marked the Dean of Southwark, Andrew Nunn’s final SleepOut as Dean. He said: ‘It was the best weather to be sleeping out at this time of the year – cold, dry and no wind. Whilst all that might have been the case it doesn’t take away from the feelings of discomfort and vulnerability that those who sleep on our streets day by day must always feel. As ever, the Robes SleepOut was a great event, an evening of fun and companionship, and a dawn in which the bread of the altar and the sustenance of breakfast were shared. Most importantly we raised money so that those forced on to our streets can be helped back off them.’

The Rev'd Michael Rawson, Sub Dean and Canon Pastor at Southwark Cathedral also slept out. He said: 'As always the Robes SleepOut 2022 was a memorable evening. The entertainment was great fun with a star-studded cast playing the Robes version of Would I lie to you followed by a night under the stars, sharing a little of the experience of those who have to do this every night of the year in a much less secure environment. It was a real team effort to support this amazing local charity in giving hope and support to those living on the streets of SE London.'

The Robes Project has operated across Southwark and Lambeth since 2007, providing shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Last winter, they were able to support 30 guests, of whom 24 are either in, or awaiting, long-term accommodation. During the winter of 2022/23, the Robes Project will once more be running its Winter Night Shelters and weekday drop-in centres which provide vital support, advice, and shelter to those most in need.

To find out more about Robes, visit their website

📸 Eve Milner