Many landlords out there go above and beyond when it comes to their tenants and their local communities. Andy Simpson is the chairman of York Residential Landlords Association, an affiliate group of the RLA. In April Andy and other members of York RLA gave up their beds for a night to take part in a charity sleepout, raising money for young homeless people in York.
Curled up in the middle of a school car park at 2am, peeping up at the clear night sky through a slit in his make-shift cardboard shelter brought it all home for landlord Andy Simpson.
Despite his teeth chattering and the wind ruffling the plastic pinned to the roof, there was nowhere else he’d rather be. It is the second year that Andy has given up his bed to spend the night sleeping under the stars to raise money for local homeless charity Safe and Secure Home (SASH) The sleepout has been running in York for eight years, and this year was the biggest in the events history, with over a hundred people taking part. Andy, who as well as being chair of York RLA is also a landlord in the city, was joined at this year’s sleepout by other members and recognised service providers to York RLA members; Roger Dobson (York RLA Committee Member), Joe Cox (Graham the Plumbers Merchant), Jodi Hutton and Rebecca Haswell (All Property Solutions). (see main picture)
“Last year I took part in the sleepout on my own”, said Andy; “I was pleased with how much I raised and other members of York RLA had
said they were keen to get involved this year-so we decided to take part as a team.” By Andy’s own admission, this year’s sleepout was very different to last year’s event. “At the start of last year, I’d never taken part in a sleepout before and I was quite unprepared. “It rained all night long, and because I didn’t have enough cardboard with me, my things got soaked,” he said.
“This year I made sure I had enough cardboard and plastic sheets with me. I built a shelter with a roof on it, and it proved really effective.” Not only was Andy more prepared, this year’s sleepout was considerably easier because he didn’t have harsh Siberian weather conditions – specifically the ‘Beast from the East’ – to shelter from.
So, what was it that inspired York RLA to sleepout for the charity again this year? “York RLA have supported SASH for several years now-they’re a brilliant local charity. Last year I managed to raise over £600 for the charity, so I thought by taking part as a bigger team, we could aim to raise even more”. Donations It’s a decision that has certainly paid off. At the time of going to print, the York RLA team have raised over £900 for SASH-with donations still continuing to come in.
All funds raised at the sleepout will go towards two projects run by SASH; the Emergency Nightstop project and longer term Supported Lodgings project. Nightstop is for young people who have nowhere safe to stay that night, with SASH helping to link the young person up with a ‘host’, someone who can offer a bed for the night, hot meal, shower-and if the young person wants- companionship.
Target Community fundraiser at SASH, Jenna Goodridge said: “It’s been a fantastic event and there was a really good atmosphere. “People who took part appreciated the chance to hear a bit more about how we help young people and enjoyed getting to know other supporters. “We’ve already exceeded our £12,000 target and money is still coming in. I want to thank everyone who’s taken part, our volunteers and the many local businesses who provided supplies and equipment to help with the event.”
Andy and the team at York RLA have been so inspired by their experiences at the sleepout, that they are already on planning on signing up again next year. “Taking part in the sleepout this year was still an eye-opener just as it was the first time, and I am delighted with how much we’ve been able to raise as a team. It makes sense for landlords to support charities related to our sector”, said Andy.
“The morning after the sleepout, we were all treated to a warm buttery bacon sandwich in the school canteen. My sleeping bag was a little wet, but I was able to go home and get my clothes and sleeping bag washed and dried. “You get a sense of what it could be like for someone who has to sleep out often – it’s humbling”.
York RLA was established in 1994. It is affiliated with the RLA and has over 500 members. The JustGiving page set up by York RLA sleepout is still open, and those wishing to donate are able to do so by clicking this link. Do you have a good landlord story? We’d love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org