Friday’s event followed on from a successful ‘Virtual Sleepout’ that took place last March, and before that the inaugural event was held back in February 2020Ben Phillips

In support of two charitable organisations, Cambridge United Community Trust (CUCT) and Wintercomfort for the Homeless, just under eighty brave souls survived a night in the main stand of Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium last Friday (11/02). A team of ten Wintercomfort staff and friends were joined by city locals as part of the United for Cambridge Sleepout event.

So far, a total of £30,000 has been raised for the two charities, which will crucially support vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in Cambridge.

During an extremely memorable evening for those involved, the sleepers enjoyed a quiz and a warm meal before choosing where to sleep. The night itself was a bitterly cold one, dropping down to just under four degrees centigrade.

The Abbey Stadium holds a maximum capacity of 8,127 spectatorsBen Phillips

Sam Gomarsall, CUCT Trust Manager, spoke after the event: “We’re so grateful to those that came along and raised such an incredible amount for the two causes. Whilst this was certainly not one of the most comfortable night’s sleeps I or any of the other people sleeping out will have had, we all recognised that this pales in comparison to what homeless people go through every single night.

As an organisation, we want to do our bit to help reduce the inequality in Cambridge and we see providing opportunities run by positive role models for young people to play sport, learn new skills, and engage in their local community. The money raised will help us do precisely that.”

CUCT uses sport to positively affect people’s lives in the local community and, in particular, the funds raised will go towards creating more opportunities in their ‘Premier League Kicks’ programme. The initiative provides free turn-up-and-play football sessions, along with workshops that allow young people to learn new skills, to the most disadvantaged areas in Cambridge.

Masterminded by the Wintercomfort team in partnership with CUCT, the popularity of the event has grown exponentially since its formation two years ago Ben Phillips

Wintercomfort’s Fundraising and Communications Manager Melody Brooker also commented on the success of the evening: “The funds raised via the sleepout will be used to improve the lives and life chances of some of the most vulnerable in our community and will make a genuine difference to many people.”


Mountain View

Cambridge United championing diversity and inclusion

Meanwhile, Simon Pickering, a fundraiser at the charity, said: “We were delighted to partner with Cambridge United Community Trust on this Sleepout and want to express our gratitude both to those who slept out and those who donated. The money raised will play an important role in helping us to support those most in need within Cambridge.”

Since 1991, Wintercomfort has supported men and women who are homeless or at risk of losing their home by offering them vital welfare services and opportunities for learning and training. Their day centre, located in Overstream House, Cambridge, opens seven days a week all year round, and relies on volunteers to keep the service running.

The charity continues to be a significant resource to the homeless community in Cambridge. Last year, they supported 836 people and received 21,427 visits to their centre, which was an increase of 13% on the previous year.

If you’d like to support the United for Cambridge Sleepout, donations can be made here.