Sleep Out

"It helped me understand what it must feel like to be homeless"


On Friday 1st December 2023, we will be sleeping outside once again on the West India Quay, by Canary Wharf.

Last year, over £9,000 was raised to support the work of GrowTH with the homeless in Tower Hamlets. We would love to smash this target! Will you join us?

Below is a reflection from a participant of 2022, to give you an idea of what to expect.

Date: Friday 1st December 2023

Time: 8pm Friday – 9am Saturday

Location: St Peter’s Barge, West India Quay, Off Hertsmere Rd, London E14 4AL

The Sleep Out is held in the same week as the Big Give’s Christmas Challenge. This is the UK’s biggest match-funded campaign. For seven days, the challenge offers GrowTH the opportunity to double our donations. If you sign up to the Sleep Out, fundraising can be either via GrowTH’s Big Give page, or via your own unique fundraising page. You choose!

Are you ready to have your perceptions challenged? Join us at the Sleep Out, 2023!

Timetable for the evening

8pm: Arrive, sign in and meet your fellow participants!

8-8:45pm: Make your cardboard beds

8:45-9:15pm: Share a simple meal outside

9:15-10pm: Hear stories from previous GrowTH guests

10pm: Bed down and catch some winks!

2022 Sleep Out: A Reflection

On Friday 2nd December, volunteers and staff (28 in total) slept outside for one night, on the West India Quay, towered over by the imposing buildings and bright lights of Canary Wharf.

It was a bitterly cold night, although we were thankful that the rain held off. Cardboard beds offered a minimal level of protection, although the wind sweeping over the quay was difficult to hide from.

We had gathered on St Peter’s Barge, a partner church of GrowTH, to make our cardboard beds, receive instructions for the night and encourage each other for what was to come. Fast forward to 9pm and the home cooked chilli was served outside, in cardboard containers.

Three previous guests of GrowTH bravely offered to come and share their real life experiences of being street homeless.  This was a time of humbling insight into the challenges of being homeless. It is so, so helpful to hear a different perspective, on an issue that confronts most of us every day. It is difficult to walk through London without seeing someone suffering from street homelessness.

One participant shared, “It was brilliant to hear stories from people who’ve accessed GrowTH…” with many others agreeing that their empathy towards those on the streets has increased.

A quiet but cold night ensued, with participants waking at all hours to enter the barge for a little respite, encouragement or cup of tea. For many, the 7.30am wake up call couldn’t come soon enough and the bacon baps were gratefully wolfed down.

It was time for reflections, and feedback. Here is a selection of the comments:

The real life experiences that were shared were incredibly powerful.
If it were for real, I'd be terrified!
The experience has enabled me to better empathise.
This morning, I am full of gratitude!