30th March 2022

Civic Nightowls – LandAid’s Big SleepOut


Earlier this month a team of ten from our Manchester studio, aptly named the ‘Civic Nightowls’ took part in LandAid’s ‘Big Sleep Out’. Smashing their original target of £2000, the team raised an incredible £3000 to raise vital funds to support Depaul Nightstop, a unique project which relies on community hosting to provide a safe, welcoming place for young homeless people in crisis.

Braving a cold night sleeping outside, our Civic Nightowls headed down to Depot Mayfield in Manchester’s city centre, sleeping bags and snacks at the ready, where they stayed until 09.00am the following morning. During the SleepOut the team got a small insight into the conditions faced by thousands of young people across the UK every single night and also heard more from the charities and young people that LandAid support, through a series of talks.

Despite the cold temperatures, the team made the most of their evening together, keeping busy with some impromptu five-a-side and lots of chats and laughs to keep spirits high.

Nightstop is a unique community based solution to youth homelessness, which places young homeless people in the homes of trained volunteers, ordinary people in the community who have a spare room and want to help. Nightstop hosts provide a private room, a warm meal and somewhere safe to stay for the night, whilst Nightstop helps to find a permanent solution to their homelessness.

A huge well done to our team who took part and bring on 2023 for an even greater team effort!

Two of our Civic Nightowls have shared the below reflections with us on their experience taking part in the Big SleepOut.

We’re all so happy that we managed to go above and beyond our fundraising target. Although very cold, we managed to keep ourselves busy and being one of the biggest teams there, we had each other to keep morale up. Hearing more on the conditions and experiences that young homeless people go through in Manchester was heart-breaking but raises awareness of what is happening right here in our own city, and how important it is to support and get involved wherever we can. It was a very restless nights sleep and we were extremely grateful for our warm beds and showers the next day.  Jolie Molloy, Studio Manager

The Big Sleep was a glimpse into what it was like sleeping rough. Although we had plenty of food, access to toilets and enough warm layers to survive a second ice age, sleeping out in the warehouse was an eye opener to the struggles of not having a place to call home. The underlying message of the evening was a serious one, however, having fun and engaging with the other groups was still encouraged. As a group we made the most of the experience by playing games and crossing off the assigned ‘Task Master’ challenges. Would be happy to do again. Nick Healy, Graduate Engineer

I was nervous about taking part in the Big Sleep Out – the Civic Night Owls were all keeping a close eye on the weather forecast and we were particularly nervous about the prospect of rain and sleet. The Big Sleep Out was a great opportunity to both raise money to help and also to raise awareness of the harsh conditions faced by many homeless young people. We were conscious of the fact that we spent a lot of time planning our warmest kits and had food in our warm studio before venturing to Mayfield Depot. We were relieved to find there was a roof and we were kept busy by a variety of organised tasks and ended with a pre-bedtime game of football which definitely warmed us up! A great event and will definitely participate next year and hope we’ll attract more Civic Night Owls to join us. Steph Jones, People and Culture Advisor 

Civic Nightowls – LandAid’s Big SleepOut