The Big Barnet Sleep Out – back after a gap of two years because of the pandemic – looks set to raise more than £20,000 to support the work of Homeless Action Barnet (HAB) and Together in Barnet (TiB).

The hardy band who unrolled their sleeping bags on the car park floor at a local synagogue on Saturday, March 26, faced a dry but chilly night as the temperature dropped overnight. Despite this, Ann Kitchen – who raised £1,300 in sponsorship – said she enjoyed taking part. “It didn’t rain and I had a lovely warm sleeping bag and downloads on my phone I could listen to if I couldn’t sleep. 

“Of course it’s not comparable to what homeless people really experience but it’s a good way of raising money and awareness. And people are so amazingly generous.” 

For the first time in the history of the sleep out, people could be sponsored to take part by camping in their garden or even building a den in their living room. 

This meant that under-18s could join in – and many did. Maya Pearce, 13, and two friends, Izzy Fulberg, 12, and Tami Strelitz, 12, spent the night in a tent. 

Maya said: “It was a good cause and we really enjoyed it although it was very cold and we didn’t get to sleep until 2am. We set a target of £500 but we think we raised almost £1200 in the end so it was definitely worth it.”

HAB Chair John Bier at the Big Barnet Sleep Out holding a picture frame which says "Sleeping out for the most vulnerable of Barnet" John Bier, chairman of HAB’s board of trustees took part in the sleep out, as did Darren Haringman, co-chair of Together in Barnet (TiB). John said that the event went well because of the fantastic work and planning by the fundraising committee – with excellent cooperation between HAB and TiB.  

He added: “It is heart-warming to see the amazing support within the community. The funds raised in the Big Sleep Out will be used to support our work with some of the most vulnerable people in our shared community. Thanks to all those who participated and supported.”

The Sleep Out was also sponsored by Non Stop Action, who provide physical education across the whole primary PE curriculum, and Places for People, a property management, development, regeneration company and leisure company.