Roman Cooper: My experience of sleeping 'rough' on World Homeless Day
25 October 2018

Roman Cooper: My experience of sleeping 'rough' on World Homeless Day

"Earlier this year, I was challenged to participate in a very unique event alongside a number of Gloucestershire business people - The CCP Big Sleep Out."

"Everything was organised by Cheltenham-based charity, CCP (Caring for Communities and People). They are an inspirational local team that do endless amounts of work to help transform lives of vulnerable within the Gloucestershire community."

"The event was scheduled for the night of 10th October 2018, which was also World Homeless Day. The idea was that we would replicate (as close as possible) a night that a homeless person would have to endure."

"It was organised that we were to spend the night in 'The Shed' - a covered concrete stand at Gloucester Rugby's Kingsholm Stadium. Around 65 people volunteered for this event, including the legendary Gloucester Rugby player, Phil Vickery. We arrived at around 7.00pm, had a bowl of soup and a chat, and then headed off to bed at 11:30 pm. I had rented a sleeping bag for the night for £20, and we had only cardboard to sleep on."

"People found a space in the Shed on the floor by the hoardings. We were fortunate in that the weather was quite mild, but sleeping on the floor was very cold. I had several layers, a hat and gloves and just about kept warm. If it was any colder, it would have been horrible."

"Some of the participants decided they would like to really experience the life of a homeless person and just led down on some cardboard in what they were wearing. They looked truly exhausted in the morning. One of the female participants said she felt very vulnerable, and every bit of wind that moved her cardboard shelter made her jump. We were inside the ground, with the gates locked. She said she couldn't imagine how she would feel on the streets."

"In the morning, Mark Cummings from BBC Radio Gloucestershire (who also volunteered) did his own show from the stadium at 6:00 am. He looked exhausted, as did just about everyone else. Every participant was quite sombre and we realised how terrible to must be to be homeless."

"Overall, the event has almost hit the target or £50,000 for the charity. These vital funds will go to shelters which will open all of December, January and February regardless of weather conditions. Previously these shelters only opened when the temperature was below freezing. If the temperature was above freezing, there were no shelters open at all in our county."

"Below is a (very bad!) photo of me bedding down for the night in the shed."


"I'd like to thank CCP for inviting me to take part in this truly incredible event. I'd also like to express my sincere gratitude to thank all of my friends, family and colleagues who donated towards my personal fundraising page. A the time of writing these notes they have helped me to raise £807."

"It's still not too late to help me and CCP smash our targets! Please donate here."

Best wishes


Roman Cooper


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