Not for Profit

Published: October 24, 2021 | Updated: October 25, 2021

Big Sleep Easy hits £10,000 mark as businesses abandon their beds to highlight homelessness

Fundraisers at YMCA Bournemouth’s Big Sleep Easy at Talbot Heath School. Picture: Paul Collins/PC Visuals.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

More than £10,000 has been raised so far after businesses and organisations in the BCP area took part in this year’s YMCA Big Sleep Easy initiative.

Participants gave up the comfort of their beds for the night and slept in cardboard boxes at Talbot Heath School in Bournemouth.

The aims were to increase awareness as well as funds for the YMCA to continue its quest to end homelessness.

So far the national initiative has raised more than £1.5m since 2010.

Unlike those who are homeless, the individuals in this year’s Big Sleep Easy were with friends, or colleagues, and in a safe and secure place for one night.

Mark Benham, Partner and Head of Real Estate at Lester Aldridge,  one of the box sponsors, said: “YMCA Bournemouth is an integral part of our community.

“By taking part in this event we are helping to change the local social landscape.”

In 2019, £45,000 was raised in the Big Sleep Easy with 145 people taking part.

Last year it was curtailed due to Covid but about 25 people slept in their gardens and raised £12,000.

Sheena Dayman, YMCA Bournemouth’s Events Manager, has co-ordinated businesses and local schools over the last three years to actively get involved.

Her shelter this year was named ‘House of Joy’, a reminder of the YMCA’s aim to bring lasting joy to people it supports in the community.

Sheena said: “We do so much more than just give people a roof over their heads, although we do that very well.

“We give our residents invaluable one-to-one support and the life skills/tools to move forward gaining independent living.

“We change lives.”

Businesses taking part in this year’s Big Sleep Easy were:

  • Lester Aldridge (also a box sponsor)
  • Dutton Gregory
  • Steele Raymond
  • Sarah Phillips – Director, Octima Marketing
  • Good Vibrations, based at The Junction Leisure Centre
  • Indigo Campers
  • YMCA – two members of the housing team
  • YMCA – two members of the Business Development team

Supporting sponsors who did not take part:

  • Fore Runner – provided soup
  • BizSpace – box sponsor
  • Preston Redman – financial sponsor
  • Harold G Walker Solicitors – financial sponsor
  • Talbot Heath School – use of its premises
  • Paul Collins, PC Visuals – photographs

To make a donation to Sheena’s page please click here or email