Richard Maun – Sleeping Rough

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Sleeping Rough

13 November 2016

Well now, I know this post was going to be week 3 of sales secrets, but having slept rough for charity on Friday I thought business could take a break for a week. The Benjamin Foundation in Norfolk organised the sleep out, this is their second year, where volunteers raise money for their work with homeless and pre-homeless people (think of sofa surfers who are one step away from a doorway) and this year 114 of us took part.
Imagine a big car park, next to a large office block. The floor is rough concrete and of course it’s dirty. Now imagine a layer of cardboard to prevent the concrete from leeching away your warmth and you laying down under the sky, in a sleeping bag. Sleeping rough presents a series of problems:

Do you stay warm in your bag, or get up and walk about to ease the discomfort on your hips?

Do you bring more gear, or take less? …If it rains you’ll be glad you took less.

You can’t sleep with a wallet and a phone bulging in your pocket, so where do you put them?

Do you drink lots of tea to stay warm, or drink less to avoid having to find the toilet at 4am?

And so on… I was warm at first in my bag, with 6 layers of clothes and a big towel over my head to keep the wind off. However, it was very noisy, the birds in town tweet all night so it sounds like dawn the whole time. Cars start up and race around. You can hear rustling in the wind, but was it leaves, or rain, or rats? I didn’t want to find out at 3.30am when I laid there under my towel, feeling scared. There is nowhere to sit down, nothing to do and the wind and cold don’t care who you are …when your hat falls off (and it will) as you wriggle in your sleeping bag, you get cold very quickly.

I slept for about 3 hours and woke at 6am feeling disorientated, forgot to put on my glasses and took a while to realise the event was over. We had arrived at 7pm and now, after a hot bacon roll, it was 7am and time to pack up and go back to hot showers and warm houses.

Sleeping rough, for one night and with the benefit of hot tea on tap, was emotionally exhausting. I came home, sorted my gear, fell asleep on the sofa, woke up, showered and then went to bed …and woke up 14 hours later.

That was just one night and with decent clothes and boots, a safe car park to doss in and toilets on hand. Imagine doing that in a doorway, with people kicking you for fun on their way home from a night club, cars swerving to spray water over you and no access to hot food.

My experience was horrid, a real eye-opener. I’ve raised over £650 for the charity and would like to say thank you to everyone who sponsored me. If you would like to donate, my webpage is still open and you can find it here:

And is there a link here to business? Well, the volunteers were from all walks of life and if we think about Corporate Social Responsibility then there is always something we can do to support our community.

Next week: Sales Secrets No.3


Click cover to view details on Amazon


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Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



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Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact