Moonlight Phoenix has risen

music, feminism, spirituality, words and more

The HARP Cardboard Box Challenge

on October 11, 2014

As most of you will already know, recently I got a new job after looking for at least a year and not getting any interviews. As well as applying to lots of jobs, I used lots of spiritual techniques including visualisations, affirmations and leaving offerings out for the faeries. I believe if you recieve there should be an exchange of energy of some sort, as a thank you. When I got the interview for the new job, I put it out to the universe that if I was to get the job I would do some sort of fundraising event. As it turned out local homeless charity ‘HARP’  after I knew I got the job, announced a fundraising event called ‘The cardboard box challenge’. Basically they arranged a ‘rough sleep’ night and I signed up. It took place at a local school, literally a five to ten minute walk from my house.

So yesterday was the big night. They said to arrive between 7.30pm and 8pm to set up, so I arrived somewhere inbetween, where I was met by one of the HARP workers who told me where everything was. The sleep out was to take place outside the school’s sixth form centre, so it was on concrete. There were toilets in the school to use, plenty of tea, coffee and cakes, and even a room we could escape to if we really needed to, and we could store things inside too. I put my rucksack inside but set up my sleeping bag, with a blanket underneath. Most people had brought along cardboard to make ‘houses’ with (some were very elaborate)! I didn’t bring in, but there was some spare, so I attempted to make a little shelter with some over my ‘bed’. Well it was a good idea in theory as the weather was okay when I arrived!

There was some entertainment between 8-11pm, which was nice as I was taking part alone rather than in a group, I didn’t really know what else to do with myself. There were some very talented breakdancers, and a few musicians. During this time, it decided to chuck it down with rain several times. I spent this time either watching the entertainment or seeking shelter indoors. By the time the music had ended, my cardboard ‘shelter’ had completed fallen apart and my sleeping bag, pillow and blanket were all wet. I got some dry cardboard and luckily HARP had brought lots of dry blankets from their shop along, so I got two dry ones, one for underneath, and one for on top and didn’t worry about making another shelter. I used the rucksack as a makeshift pillow. To begin with this was okay. Then it started to rain again! What I hadn’t realised as now that the music had finished, the gazebo type thing they had been playing under had space. It was only as one of the HARP people pointed it out that I realised, and she helped me move my stuff over, it was open, but at least I would be sheltered from the rain. She also got me another blanket for underneath, and they were really excellent and helpful, I was offered cups of tea often!

I was okay for a bit, then I got really cold. I went and grabbed another blanket, but felt bad like I was hogging all the blankets! But obviously I must have looked like I was struggling as a HARP worker shortly came out and put another blanket on me! So I had like 5 blankets in total!! This did make a difference though. The struggle after that was just trying to get comfortable and the noise of people around me, and also the lights (as they were left on). I did sleep but it was very on and off and not deep. I woke up around 7, mainly because of people coming alive again, there was breakfast and drinks on offer, so I got a cup of coffee and a croissant. Just before 8am, they said thank you to everyone and gave out some prizes to some camps like ‘the cosiest camp’ etc. Then we could all leave. I was glad I was only a short walk away, so Miguel kindly ran me a hot bath, so I briefly got in there before going back to bed. I stayed in bed for about 4 hours, I thought I wasn’t going to sleep at first as I’d had two coffees but soon the tiredness hit. I still felt tired when I got up, but managed to stay up for a few more hours. At 3pm I had rest for another hour though as was so tired, and my body is aching. I’m still tired now!

I’ve raised £202 so far, but you can still sponsor me at

The event has really given me a better perspective as to what it must be like to be truly homeless. I’ve never appreciated my bed more! At least I had the options of toilets, dry blankets and even a room to go in if I wanted to. They don’t always have this choice. They also don’t get offered lots of cups of tea, coffee and cake! If the event was anything to go by the HARP staff are amazing. They were very helpful and kind. They kept an eye on everyone and I got lots of offers of tea and things I might need.

Please check out the work they do at the link at the beginning of my blog x


3 responses to “The HARP Cardboard Box Challenge

  1. Reblogged this on Just Listening To You and commented:
    Hayley my friend slept outside to raise funds for H.A.R.P. please read and consider contributing. Love Bernie x

  2. […] The following day was stress again, mainly because my former manager decided to give me an exit interview and I felt like he spent most of it telling me what was wrong with me 😦 In the evening that day, I had signed up to a charity challenge by HARP the local homeless charity called a ‘sleep out’ so for the night I slept ‘rough’. I wrote about it here […]

  3. […] 9.The HARP Cardboard Box Challenge-(October 2014) I recently completed a rough sleep for the local homeless charity HARP, I wrote about the experience. […]

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