Local charity Alabaré and the Royal Artillery Garrison at Larkhill have joined forces with English Heritage to host a BIG Sleep event at Stonehenge…

Nearly 150 people from the local military community slept out over night at the Stonehenge visitor centre on Friday 7th October. Those sleeping out were from local Armed Forces camps, employees and families of Sodexo Defence and other defence contractors. Each sleeper pledged in advance to raise £100 for Alabaré’s Homes for Veterans projects in the region; ensuring that there is accommodation and support available to ex-Service personnel who would otherwise be facing the crisis of homelessness.

The idea for the Stonehenge BIG Sleep came about when a team from Sodexo Defence and Lieutenant Colonel David Penniall, Royal Artillery Garrison at Larkhill took part in Alabaré’s Salisbury BIG Sleep earlier this year at the city’s Cathedral. Keen to do more to help vulnerable and homeless Veterans the team decided to create this bespoke event for the military community.

Maureen O’Leary, Sodexo Services Manager said: “This event gives us a great opportunity to come together in support of the wider military family to raise funds for Alabaré Homes for Veterans. We are delighted to be partnering with the Royal Artillery who are championing this event. The event was fantastic. We had live music, hot food and there was great camaraderie.”

WO2 James Right Richardson said: “This experience opened my eyes to the problems and issues that affect many Veterans lives on a daily basis. We’re pretty lucky that the weather was kind and in the morning we can pack up and go home unlike homeless Veterans.”

Debbie Reynold from Mons Barracks, Aldershot who took part in the event said: “It’s been an absolutely amazing event. It’s such a privilege to be here and to be able to see what we’ve seen and to help raise money for such a worthy cause.”

Kate Davies, General Manager of Stonehenge for English Heritage said: "We are delighted to have supported our local military community by hosting this unique event at the Stonehenge visitor centre. It’s been wonderful for us to see this venue playing an important community role."

Andrew Lord, Chief Executive, Alabaré said: “Huge thanks to English Heritage and their team for allowing us the privilege of holding The BIG Sleep at Stonehenge, to the Royal Artillery Garrison at Larkhill for making this happen and to Sodexo for showing such care and concern for the military family as a whole. Our biggest thanks go to all those who stepped up and slept out on Friday to help vulnerable Veterans in need, raising vital funds for our Homes for Veterans.”

Alabaré believes that no Veteran should call the streets home. This fundraiser will help raise much needed money for Alabaré’s Homes for Veterans which will help transform the lives of homeless and vulnerable ex-service personnel. Alabaré is supported by military charities but still needs to raise more than £1 million per year to assist the most vulnerable Veterans, transforming their lives so that they can live an independent life outside the military.