It’s been 3 weeks since I took part in Centrepoint’s Sunderland Sleep Out, at the Stadium of Light, to raise money for young, homeless people right here in Sunderland.
It is a great charity and event, which raised over £21,000…but for me it’s been so much more than that.
Prior to the event I honestly thought that I’d turn up, take part, raise as much money as I could and then just carry on life as normal, but the experience has really stuck with me, and has had a significant influence on some of the decisions I’ve made since.
First of all it opened my eyes to homelessness in the city and that there is so much more to the issue than first meets the eye, but more than that it’s made me think about how we as a city work together to make positive changes to the place we call home…Sunderland.
There were around 100 people at the Sleep Out, but I have no doubt in my mind that there should have been more, and the same goes for many things that take place in the city.
It’s the same when physical activity events such as family walks or fun runs take place in Sunderland…yes there are so many awesome people that show up and get involved, but really there should be more.
We might be classed as a city, but I certainly feel that in many ways we feel like a village.
Geographically we aren’t huge and you are always connected to someone, in someway whether it’s via family, work, education or friendships.
So with that in mind, why isn’t there more involvement in events that directly benefit the city?
It doesn’t always have to be about charity.
There are a host of opportunities to support local businesses or even improve the health and wellbeing of residents of the city.
It is very easy to say no to things that are a little outside our comfort zone, and it’s extremely easy to say no to things that don’t directly benefit our own lives and that of our immediate circle or family, but for me the easy option is not always the right one.
When positive things happen in our city it benefits everyone, maybe not always directly, but there is always a bigger picture to be seen.
So, the next time you see a charity event taking place, or a local business running an opening event or promotion for example, or a family activity day, get involved and try something new.
So many people whinge and moan about Sunderland yet do nothing to contribute to supporting others and creating positive change.
Sometimes you have to be a little selfless and put yourself out there in order to make good things happen.
One person complaining about things won’t change anything, but lots of people ‘doing their bit’ will make great things happen.