Sleep Rough So Others Can Sleep Easy
Written by Stella Nicholls
“You haven’t come this far to only come this far.”
Growing up in a modest home in Durban, South Africa, the middle son of three brothers, Llew Nicholls – CCO of Grow Media, was never short of some healthy competition. Whether that was out on the rugby field or tackling one of his brothers for the last biscuit, it was ‘Game On!’
And it is this competitive spirit, combined with his passion to help others – especially those in need – that has prompted Llew to face the not-so-warm March conditions and sleep rough for a night. He said,
“It is one night where people give up their warm beds and sleep-out in the elements to help those who normally have to sleep rough.”
There are an estimated 4750 people sleeping rough across the country on any one night. Sleep Easy is the YMCA’s annual sponsored sleep-out that aims to raise money to provide supported accommodation for local young people.
This year, Llew is gearing up to join the sleep-out on the 9th March. He is a firm believer in “being stretched” not so much in the “warming up before a match” way, but in any aspect of life where he needs to grow. ‘You haven’t come this far to only come this far’, one of his favourite quotes, sums up his desire to step out of his comfort zone and help others. He said,
“I want to sleep rough for a night so that young people in need don’t have to.”
I asked Llew how prepared he was for the cold. He replied that he doesn’t even own a sleeping bag and hasn’t been camping in the UK yet. His idea of sleeping out in the elements in the tropical climate of South Africa, would have been having a nap on the beach after a swim. Needless to say, he will be investing in some thermal underwear and a good sleeping bag very soon.
Llew first heard about the YMCA and the amazing work they do when he arrived in Exeter from South Africa. He says before that, he had always thought it was just a song. He started The Exe Factor (a social enterprise that raised funds for charity) and donated a part of the proceeds in support of the YMCA.
He is passionate about playing a small part in helping to give hope to those who may feel ‘hopeless’. He said,
“It’s easy to judge, but we need to walk a few steps in another’s shoes before we do that. We don’t know the hardships that people have faced, it’s not our place to point fingers, it’s our place to offer a warm ‘hand up’.”
To donate to Llew’s sleep-out and ultimately help young people in need, please pop on to his JustGiving page.