Here at TwoScots we are a “wee bit different”. We think it’s important to give back to the communities we live and work in, so we make it our business to support both local and national charities. Most recently we have partnered with both the Starlight Foundation and Breast Cancer Australia and have worked with them to raise money as well as donating 2.5% of every permanent placed candidate invoice.
On any given night in Melbourne, there are more than 6,000 young people without a roof over their heads, feeling alone, frightened and without hope. These young people need all the help they can get and they deserve our support, so when we heard about the Melbourne City Mission ‘Sleep at the ‘G’ fundraiser we were keen to get involved.
My initial thoughts were what will I do without my home comforts; a warm shower, hot food and a comfortable bed. Things that I take for granted.
This got me thinking about all of those people out there that don’t have the privileges that we do or the opportunities in life that we have. Or unfortunate circumstances have led to them not knowing where they will sleep tonight. Worryingly, the main causes of homelessness among young people are family breakdown and violence in the home.
At 5pm we left the office, sleeping bags in hand, as many layers of clothing as possible and headed down to the ‘G’. We were nervous and weren’t sure what to expect but while walking down, we each found ourselves imagining how we would feel if we ourselves were without a home, who we would turn to and how scared we would feel. It was a chilling thought.
On arrival we were given a cardboard box and asked to take some space wherever we could – we decided to sleep outdoors for the night. Ours happened to be the coldest part of the stadium and, as we shivered, it brought it home to us just how bad the conditions are that young people experience while living on the streets without shelter, especially through the winter months.
I have noticed recently when walking around the city that more and more people seem to be living on the streets. In a country with such low unemployment and affluence, it demonstrates just how easy it is for people to still slip through the cracks and end up without a home.
We received our soup and talked for a few hours before trying to get some rest with nothing but a piece of cardboard between us and the cold concrete floor. Ben attempted to make a small shelter for himself with five pieces of cardboard he had managed to find. It did little to keep out the biting wind. During the night we felt vulnerable to the loud passers-by and I shuddered as the temperature dropped.
By 6am, having hardly slept, we got up feeling very tired and aching all over. The experience was intense and emotional for all of us and it certainly got me thinking about how the homeless feel when they are forced to live like this day in day out. All we had to do was one night.
Relieved, we said our goodbyes and headed for home. Waiting for us were all the home comforts that we fail to fully appreciate. I know all three of us feel changed by that night and that the $1000 we raised has gone to a thoroughly good cause. The young and homeless are scared and lonely young people without a safety net and we need to ensure that they aren’t forgotten.
In the past few weeks, we have decided as a business to also partner with a fantastic new charity, Fareshare, which focuses on combating needless food waste and ensuring those in need have a hot meal. The whole team are looking forward to volunteering for a full day in September in the Fareshare kitchen preparing and making the meals.
It’s very easy while we go about our day-to-day lives to forget that many people are struggling just make it through the day. As a business, TwoScots is happy and proud to continue “giving a wee bit back”.