With nothing more than some pieces of cardboard and basic sleeping bags, staff at Excalibur Communications in Swindon have raised over £2,000 for Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Threshold Housing Link by spending a night out on the tarmac in the company’s car park.
The 20-strong Excalibur volunteers, including the entire senior management team, also braved the elements and the discomfort to raise awareness of the number of homeless people in the UK – estimated by Shelter to now exceed more than a quarter of a million.
From 8pm until 8am, Excalibur personnel representing every department at the mobile and IT provider tried to get to grips with conditions away from their nice warm beds, but according to CEO James Phipps, it could have been much, much worse.
“After the recent cold snap, I think we were extremely lucky that the overnight temperatures were around double figures”, he said. “But to think how night after night, homeless people often have to cope during winter in sub-zero conditions – not to mention the dangers of sleeping rough – is beyond most of us. Psychologically, it was easy for us knowing that this was just for one night, but it still made the Excalibur team think long and hard about how tough it must be when the streets are somebody’s home and how vulnerable these people are.”
After more than doubling the target that it set out to raise, Excalibur is giving half of the £2,000+ money raised to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance (which receives no government funding), who in their lifesaving work have already been on well over 600 missions this year. The other 50 per cent is for Threshold Housing Link, a local independent charity which provides emergency, short, medium and long term accommodation to single homeless people in Swindon.
There is still time to donate. Please contact Excalibur on 01793 438881 for more details.