The annual ‘Cloister Challenge’ at Gloucester Cathedral has raised a total of £14,682 to support homeless and vulnerable people across the city.
Run by local charity HaVinG (Having – A Voice in Gloucester), more than 100 people took part in the challenge, braving the cold weather to spend the night on the stone floor of the Cathedral’s famous cloisters. Participants included school children and students, as well as the Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester and local MP Richard Graham.
During the evening participants were treated to a programme of music and then invited to take part in the Service of Compline before bedding down on the hard, cold, stone floors of the cloisters. Throughout the event volunteers were on hand to serve cakes and refreshments to everyone involved.
Now in its fifth year, the annual fundraising event will distribute the funds to organisations working to prevent or relieve poverty in the Gloucester area. Previous beneficiaries include Gloucester City Mission and the Gloucester Cathedral Breakfast Club.
Dr Andrew Braddock, Canon Missioner of Gloucester Cathedral said:
“It was wonderful to see so many people of all ages and backgrounds coming together to help make a positive difference and highlight the needs of those who are homeless. Thank you to everyone who organised, supported and participated in this year’s Cloister Challenge.”
Rosie Farmer, a Trustee of HaVinG and the organiser of the Cloister Challenge said:
“The Cloister Challenge is an event with a thought-provoking hard edge. The programme of music, the chance to take part in the traditional service of Compline at the end of the day and to go down to the Crypt lit only by candles (electric!) are all a great experience and very enjoyable; however, they are followed by the reality of bedding down on the cold, hard floors of the Cloisters. We do not pretend that this gives a full understanding of rough sleeping but it is still very real and thought provoking. I did the first Cloister Challenge with my teenage daughter and thought it would be fun. I woke at one in the morning to find my daughter shivering in her sleep beside me – I could have gone home to a warm bed but those who are rough sleeping have no such choices. It changed my whole outlook on those who find themselves on the streets and I am delighted that so much money has been raised which will be put to good use supporting homeless and vulnerable people in the City of Gloucester and the local area.”
HaVinG is a new charity for the City of Gloucester and the local area concentrating on building awareness of the challenges of homelessness in its widest sense and raising funds. The funds raised by HaVinG will be granted out, in the main, to other charities and organisations working with homeless and vulnerable people in the City of Gloucester to either sustain them or to support them on to new pathways through life. (For more information contact Martin Henshaw, Chair of Trustees, HaVinG, through email Chair-HaVinG@Outlook.com or phone 07 986 312 492)
Gloucester Cathedral Breakfast Club
A team of dedicated volunteers serve a cooked breakfast to the homeless and vulnerable at the Cathedral every Thursday and Sunday morning. Many local people in need rely on this charitable service and no one is turned away.