A SOLIHULL businessman braved freezing temperatures at the Big Birmingham SleepOut to raise more than £300 for homeless charity, St Basil’s.
Elliott Robinson, owner of oven valeting service Ovenu Solihull, joined hundreds of other fundraisers and spent a night beneath the stars in the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral.
Fundraisers were challenged to build a shelter out of cardboard and plastic sheeting, before settling down for the night.
Elliott said: “We were lucky as a meal of curry was provided, a Salvation Army Band played Christmas carols and a midnight mass was held.
“I had one cardboard box at first but readily admit I didn’t know what to do, so after a few attempts, and watching what others did, I understood the best way to keep warm.
“To get the most protection from the cold and damp you need to put the plastic sheet on the ground first, then squash the box before sliding in to trap any warm air.
“I managed to get some sleep and woke up about 5:30am. I had an uncomfortable and restless night, which gave me an insight into being homeless, but luckily for me it was only for one night and I was able to go home to a comfortable bed.
“I’ve raised more than £300 for St Basils, met the amazing ‘Basil’, the St Basil’s mascot and learned a lot about surviving a cold night.”
Birmingham-based St Basil’s works with young people aged 16 to 25 who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless and provides a full range of prevention, accommodation, support and engagement services.
It houses more than 1,000 people in Birmingham and more than 1,500 across the West Midlands throughout 34 supported accommodation schemes
Elliott is also supporting the charity in other ways, offering the use of his van and his time for a day, as well as distributing its promotional leaflets.
He has been an Ovenu franchisee since 2007, covering an area including Olton, Dickens Heath, Shirley, Dorridge, Hillfields, Tidbury Green, Chelmsley Wood, Elmdon, Meriden, Balsall Common and beyond.
Rik Hellewell, founder and managing director of Ovenu, said: “Elliott has gone a long way in understanding the challenges that face the homeless and I applaud his commitment to supporting his community and this very worthwhile cause.”