Spring has sprung and whilst holidays seem a long way off, a brand new campaign is encouraging friends and families from across Birmingham to enjoy the Great Outdoors, albeit in their own back gardens. The Big Brummie Camp Out will be taking place on the Early May Bank Holiday (Friday 8 May), with the aim of bringing a little light relief into lockdown, whilst also raising money for one of the city’s key homeless charities.  

Launched by SIFA Fireside, Birmingham’s main day centre for homeless and vulnerably housed adults, the Big Brummie Camp Out focuses on the importance of “home” at a time when we’re all being forced to spend more time than usual in our own. Whether you’re pitching a tent in the garden, building a DIY den on your balcony, or creating a cushion castle in the living room, everyone is being urged to get involved! 

The campaign is being launched as part of #SIFASurvives, an emergency appeal by SIFA Fireside, which has seen a dip in income due to the Coronavirus epidemic. Looking to raise £50,000 over the coming months, money raised will ensure that the Digbeth-based charity can continue providing homeless and vulnerable adults access to key services such as showers and health clinics, whilst also helping them to work towards a brighter future.

To sign up, ‘campers’ will be asked to donate a minimum £5 to the appeal, in return for access to an exclusive digital download pack filled with fun activities like leaf printing and a DIY campfire, as well as homemade bunting to decorate your ‘campsite’. The pack will have everything needed for an evening under the stars, including family-friendly recipes created by SIFA Fireside Patron, Alex Claridge (The Wilderness) and a bread making recipe from Sarehole Mill, as well as a guide to moon phases from Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum. The evening will also help bring people together, with a hosted live stream, music performances, and the chance to share camping experiences on social media using the hashtag #SIFASurvives.

Carly Jones, Chief Executive of SIFA Fireside, comments: 

“Many of our partners are now unable to support us financially in the way they had previously and we need to fill the gap, of course, but we also wanted to use what’s currently happening as a chance to bring people even closer together and promote positive messaging around what “home” really means. The Big Brummie Camp Out is about friends and families in isolation sharing a fun experience that also helps their community. Whether you’re camping in your garden or creating a living room den, you have the chance to not only have fun but secure the future of SIFA Fireside.” 

The Coronavirus pandemic has rocked charities and community projects across the board and has seen SIFA Fireside have to close its drop in service; moving to over-the-phone support for clients while social distancing measures are in place. The charity is also challenged with plugging a funding gap after seeing a number of supporters withdraw funds due to economic uncertainty. 

“We know that these are challenging times for everyone, and “home” has an even bigger importance than usual, as we all come together to support each other, our neighbours, and the wider community. This feeling of togetherness is what makes SIFA Fireside so unique; our team strives every day to create a space that helps people live healthy and fulfilling lives. The past few weeks have been really tough for us, especially having to temporarily close our drop-in centre but we remain dedicated to supporting our vulnerable clients over the phone and in partnership with other service providers. We hope the Big Brummie Camp Out give people something to look forward to; whether you’re a family with young children or a big kid like me! It’s also great to know that your night under the stars will go towards helping people in the community who really need it!” 

To sign up to the Big Brummie Campout, visit bit.ly/BigBrummieCampOut.

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