Parish & Ward Church of St. Botolph without Bishopsgate

Successful sleepout for our neighbours XLP

The Christian youth charity XLP (The eXceL Project) works at the cutting edge of urban youth work in the UK to create positive futures for young people. Founded in 1996, the charity has grown from working in a single school to operating in over 75 schools and numerous communities across many London boroughs. As well as its ongoing work in schools, it also works on 22 inner London estates using both community facilities and its own double-decker bus. The charity's staff share a common passion: to serve the community by meeting the social, educational and behavioural needs of young people, and encouraging them to make wise lifestyle choices and to realise their potential.

St Botolph’s is just around the corner from XLP and the two organisations have built up a strong relationship over the past 5 years. Recent practical help emerged when St Botolph’s PCC was delighted to offer the charity the use of the sports court and church hall for its first City Sleepout, which took place on 15 June. Staff from local firms (including ING Bank, Hampshire Trust Bank, Indigo Planning, DP9, and Designer Wallpapers) were sponsored to sleep out on the court for a night to raise both funds for XLP and awareness of the charity's work. The participants were entertained by performances from some of XLP's young musicians, and the church hall was used for video presentations (and loos). It was a highly successful night and the total raised was in excess of £30,000 - an amazing amount which will have a real impact on XLP's work.

A Friday night in the City is not quiet, and those taking part got a sense of the very real difficulties that genuine rough sleepers have to contend with. Michael Horsley, XLP's Head of Corporate Partnerships, said: "This was a great chance for our corporate supporters to see the Church at the vanguard in helping to tackle social justice issues."

The photographs show the participants before and after the event, and some of the activities on the night. More information about the charity at www.xlp.org.uk