Thousands raised for Hemel charity as hundreds take part in DENS Sleepout fundraiser

DENS aim is to be the first port of call for people in Dacorum who are facing homelessness, poverty and social exclusion

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 1:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 1:10 pm

Hundreds of individuals, businesses and groups around Hertfordshire took part in the DENS Sleepout to raise money for the Hemel Hempstead homeless charity.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic the charity moved their usual mass get-together in school grounds, everyone was happy to swap their beds for their garages, gardens, floors and even cupboards to raise £17,000 for DENS, on Friday, November 13.

Every penny raised will go towards people in Dacorum facing homelessness, poverty and social exclusion, to help them take the next positive steps in their lives.

Kate, Jacob and Ziggy the Dog

DENS community and events manager, Nicky Maxwell-Braithwaite, said: "We raised £17,000 and still climbing!

"Being able to sleepout at home meant that people’s furry friends were also invited including many dogs and cats but also guinea pigs, rabbits and even a parrot!

“We set up a live broadcast on YouTube and Zoom from 7-9pm and despite a bit of WIFI chaos and an element of stress, it was so much fun and wonderful to see people setting up their beds in all sorts of places and snuggle down with their family and pets.”

The Morgan family, from Berkhamsted, were delighted their new family member, Ziggy the Dalmation puppy - aged just nine weeks - could join in the fun.

Poppy in Cupboard

Twelve-year-old Jacob said: “Me and Dad slept all night in the garage. It was a bit chilly but nice and dry. I am so going to sleepout outside next year.

His sister Poppy, nine, added: "We made our tent in the garage look really pretty with fairy lights and fluffy blankets but I still didn’t like sleeping in a dusty garage so I moved back into the house at midnight and made up a bed in the cupboard and slept there just like Harry Potter!”

Fran Martin, head of fundraising, was delighted with the outcome. She said: “Like all charities, national or local, it’s been a tough year for fundraising.

"I am really proud of our small team who transformed this flagship mass event into a virtual one, demonstrating immense creativity and innovation as they adapted to brand new ways of fundraising.

Thousands raised for Hemel charity as hundreds take part in DENS Sleepout fundraiser

"Nicky and Guy quickly learnt live broadcast skills and were able to deliver a fantastic night of online entertainment, joined by both Foodbank manager Wade, and Michelle, who gave exclusive tours, and great insight into our services.”

DENS aim is to be the first port of call for people in Dacorum who are facing homelessness, poverty and social exclusion; to support and empower them to take the next positive step in their lives.

DENS ensure individuals have access to temporary and short-term accommodation, and individuals and families have access to food and provisions.

They provide a range of accommodation options to support people to move on and sustain their own tenancy and provide advice and training; empowering people to develop skills and confidence to build a better future and be an active member of their community.

Hundreds of individuals, businesses and groups took part in the DENS Sleepout on Friday

To make a donation to the charity, visit: www.dens.org.uk.