Jim Hudson, Manager at YMCA Peaks Lane Hostel and Community House, writes:
What do the YMCA do when it's Friday night, the temperature is set to go down to -6C, and the bars and clubs open? They and their friends grab as much cardboard as they can, put on their thermals and head down to the Shoreline Parking Lot to huddle overnight (1800-0630) to raise money and awareness in the cause of those who do not have shelter. Madness!
The staff at the YMCA and their supporters from Shoreline, Harbour Place, Empower and so many agencies and individuals are mad, mad for those less fortunate. Eighty Five of us also gave each other priceless gifts on the night. Everyone made it their job to raise everyone else's spirits as the night got colder. No one forgot the serious message, but laughter is the way many of us get through hard times, and there was laughter in abundance.
And the cardboard shelters...oh my! From Empower's seriously planned 'marquee' of card, to the card beach huts of Peaks Lane, to the two person pre-planned dwelling (Jess' dad made it because he was worried about his daughter- that's a dad for you!) of the Foyer and councillor Ray's wigwam, the creativity was amazing. Steve Beasant went for the man in a square tube look....lovely.....so now. With JP, Ros and these two hunkering down in plastic sheets and cardboard beds it was a wonderful message about how the whole community gets in on supporting this area.
'Hi Jim' came many a shout. I barely recognised anyone and was ignoring so many. The reason? Wooly hats, scarves, layers of clothing; I didn't recognise anyone until they shouted to me. Lucy, a teacher from Laceby Acres School and Gerry (and her lovely mum) from the council looked like Weebles with legs they had so much clothing on. Lucy came along not knowing anyone but in a short time had made 4 new friends in her 'village' of coffin shaped boxes lined along one wall.
I actually got about 4 hours dozing all-in-all, which was more than I expected; the Foyer team gave me a shelter they had made which kept the worst of the frost off me. They obviously feel protective of the old man. And the home-made soup made by Mark Brewer and his sister really hit the spot at 3 a.m.
Just a quick mention for Jo who was wearing a massive warm suit giving her a 'Bibendum' (The Michelin Man) look. If she had fallen over she would never have been able to get up again. Many tried to take a photo. The problem was that the whole suit was a giant yellow reflector. Photos show a blaze of light and that is all. Henceforth she shall be known as 'Nuclear Custard Woman'.
Grimsby & Cleethorpes
Shoreline Housing Partnership
Sleep Easy 2012 - sleep rough so others don't have to.