Zest helps the Bethany Christian Trust homeless charity at the big sleepout

It was a gloomy and rainy Friday in April and five of us Zest staff were gearing up to sleep outside. Zest had committed to support the Bethany Christian Trust by getting sponsors and giving up our beds for one night to sleep outside.

Bethany Christian Trust

The Bethany Christian Trust is a charity with a mission to give homeless and vulnerable people a hope and a future. Bethany Christian Trust supports 5,000 homeless people, including children, every year in Scotland to find, equip and maintain a home within their local community. Something new I learned about the charity is the role they play in resettlement. Resettlement is the move that a homeless person makes from temporary housing or the streets into more permanent accommodation. Without the efforts of groups like Bethany Trust, a third of all tenancies taken up by homeless people fail. The main reasons for failure include lack of furniture, feelings of loneliness and isolation, and lack of employment and training. Bethany Christian Trust works to increase the success of resettlement by helping people overcome these issues.

Why does Zest support Bethany Christian Trust?

The owner of Zest isn’t just interested in running a successful coffee shop, but uses the work as an opportunity to teach, train, and give hope to individuals who have struggled with work. Zest partners with many organizations to provide work experience for the unemployed and train those with no training in order to build their CV and make them more employable. Wanting to help people is a common goal that Zest and Bethany Christian Trust share, so when the opportunity arose to raise money and support them, we were eager to help.

The Big Sleepout

The Big Sleepout is a homelessness fundraising event. We gave up our beds for the night and slept outside at the Holy Trinity Church grounds in St. Andrews. There were more than 20 participants total. We all met together at 10pm and were given cardboard boxes, tape, and one hour to create our shelters for the evening. It started raining about 10 minutes into building, so we had to pick up the pace and work quickly. Another participant had some tarpaulin that he was willing to share so thanks to him we were able to keep dry. Once we went to bed and were all snuggled in our sleeping bags, we all managed to stay warm. However, a real hindrance to sleep came in all of the noise. The church bells rang every hour, the gusting wind scattered bits of rubbish, people leaving the pubs were talking loudly, and the seagulls were chatty all night. In the end, our Zest customers sponsored us and helped us raise over £300! It was a challenging night, but it was worth it.