Last week, together with some of our UK team members, I spent an uncomfortable night sleeping rough to raise money for the annual Land Aid Sleep Out to help end youth homelessness.

Due to the pandemic, our intrepid team members had to get creative and find the most uncomfortable space to spend the night in and around their own homes. Some, like me, chose a tent in the back garden, others made rudimentary shelters or simply bedded down on the patio and braved the elements. The most unusual location was chosen by Andrea Jenkinson from our finance team, who spent the night in the back on an old Land Rover Defender! Although she knew it would be cold, Andrea told me she hadn’t factored in that sleeping in a metal box would also cause condensation, so she also had to endure water dripping on her head.

“It was a great thing to do as it made me realise just what homeless people go through day in, day out – for me it was just one night. I have also decided to donate the sleeping bag I bought to a homeless charity.” Andrea Jenkinson

LandAid is the property industry’s charity, working to end youth homelessness in the UK. It brings the property industry together to support charities delivering life-changing services for young people who are or have been homeless, or who are at risk of homelessness in the future. The pandemic has only added to the plight of young people and this year, due to Covid-19 – London has already seen a 47% increase in young people rough sleeping. New research from Centrepoint, also revealed that more than 120,000 young people approached their local authority because they were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless last year.

Dave Ribbands, a Director in our Project Management Team, was one of the team members braving the elements to raise awareness of this issue. Here’s what he had to say about his experience:

“It wasn’t too bad until about 3am when the rain decided to make an appearance, which when combined with the wind was not a nice experience. In reality, I am fortunate that I had a good sleeping bag, plenty of fresh warm clothes and a secure garden to sleep in.

I can’t imagine having the feeling of knowing you have to do that every night. Last night wasn’t even particularly cold either, imagine when it was -4 in winter!”

Also braving the elements was Carmela Casamassa, Receptionist in our Solihull office. She spent the night in a tent in her back garden with her twin boys, who were also celebrating their 8th birthday on the same day as the sleep out. Here’s what she had to say about the experience:

“Last year I was a volunteer for the Midlands’ Sleepout with 5 other Prologis colleagues and we slept under the stars at Edgbaston cricket ground for one very cold uncomfortable night. This year we knew things had to be slightly different due to the Covid-19 lockdown across the country: we couldn’t get together as a team but it didn’t stop us braving the cold for the virtual sleep out.

I didn’t get too much sleep as it was very cold and I found myself waking every hour and a half to ensure the boys were warm and still asleep. We managed until 06:10 in the morning before getting up very bleary eyed and going in the house for a warm drink and to thaw out! Importantly, it raised many questions and now importantly awareness for my boys around the whole subject of what homelessness is and ways we can help.”

The virtual sleep out was an incredible success, with over 600 property professionals braving one night outside, raising an incredible amount of money to help support young homeless people across the UK. So far, the event has raised over £323,000 and our own team raised over £3,000. If you want to show your support, there’s still time to donate, CLICK HERE .

Thanks to the intrepid team who joined me in the virtual sleep out: Carmela Casamassa; Andrea Jenkinson; Jane Harrison; Kathryn Bird; Sally Duggleby and Dave Ribbands. Thanks also to everyone who donated money and supported us.