Until we open our eyes to its realities for ourselves, we have little idea of the challenges of homelessness. We have two choices. We can simply walk on by. Or we can get serious about ending a devastating social problem.
And that’s exactly what 40 plucky staff from Kings Norton multidisciplinary engineering firm adi Group did, braving the unforgiving elements in the grounds of Birmingham’s Cathedral, to raise vital funds for St Basils Big Sleepout and the charity’s ongoing efforts in support of homeless young people across the West Midlands.
But it wasn’t the first time. Raising over £4,000 already for their 2018 trouble, adi Group employees have now contributed in excess of £20,000 in just six years of participation in the annual event, using their engineering skills to construct makeshift shelters from plastic sheeting and cardboard.
The Sales Director of one of the Group’s Companies, adi Facilities Engineering, Lee Price, oversaw adi’s improvised construction project and, given the firm’s contingent was its biggest in six years, soon came to the realisation that the usual one shelter solution would fail to accommodate all 40 hardy souls.
“In previous years, one shelter just about kept us all dry, if not particularly warm. But this time round it was clear the scale of the challenge had changed. So, our teams set about creating various ‘unique’ structures to fend off the worst effects of the weather.
We work on all manner of projects, with over 30 specialist engineering capabilities, so we used our combined skills to fashion the best shelters we could. It really gives you an insight into what the homeless face night in, night out. Mostly nights out, though, unfortunately.
We’re seasoned engineers but, racing against the clock and limited in the materials we could use, each shelter had its own issues and vulnerabilities. Although we were lucky it didn’t rain, to a man and woman we all learnt a lot about a problem that really shouldn’t exist in 21st century Britain.”
40-strong team were joined at the event by over 600 fellow fundraisers, including West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, Shadow Digital Minister Liam Byrne MP, local councillors and staff from HMRC, Grant Thornton UK, The Accord Group, Heartlands Hospital and many other organisations and businesses.
The firm’s support for St Basils and the help it delivers to vulnerable young people aged 16 to 25 complements a range of other local outreach initiatives, some others of which are aimed specifically at this age group.
adi Group Strategic Account Director, who was also one of the adi team on the night, showed real empathy for today’s youngsters.
“Young people face different challenges to those many of us dealt with as we made our way in the world. They don’t always have the opportunities other generations have enjoyed and some choices are simply out of reach for many. So, we want to open up opportunities for them and help organisations like St Basils, who do so much great work to stop them fall through the cracks.”
St Basils works with young people aged 16 to 25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, helping over 5,000 young people each year across the West Midlands.
To show solidarity with adi Group’s efforts and to make a donation, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adi-group-st-basils-sleep-out-2018.