Sleep Out to Help Out
What is Sleep Out to Help Out (SOTHO)
Pondering over the idea of the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme one day, CAMpRA member, Ian Lones, had a sudden inspiration that we could build on the concept with a view to supporting the recovery of our economy whilst demonstrating the huge benefits motorhome tourism could bring to local areas.
At the time, the country was slowly emerging from the first lockdown and we were only permitted to meet at public venues with our own households. Together with Eddie Yarrow and Tracey Barkwill, Ian organised our first ‘Sleep Out to Help Out’ initiative at The Dyke Neuk, in Morpeth, Northumberland.
The event was a huge success in many ways: two pairs of members were shielding so were able to order food to be delivered to their motorhomes; the rest were able to eat in the pub restaurant in couples/family groups. A WhatsApp group was created so that members could socialise whilst adhering to the Government guidelines. In the morning, members breakfasted in the pub and then a socially distanced photo was taken outdoors.
The landlord of the pub gave a very positive report of the group and confirmed that his takings were up significantly as compared to a regular Thursday evening.
Shortly after this, members joined forces with Abbie Silivistris who is the creator of the group ‘Motorhomes and Campervans Against Litter’. Abbie liaised with a café in Staithes, North Yorkshire and arranged a second ‘SOTHO’ which was attended by several of the leadership team and members of the North East Campaign group.
Janet Mason, of the North East Campaign Group, organised a further SOTHO with one night at Hartlepool and one in Durham. During our stay at Hartlepool we were observed, by a local, carrying out a litter pick. He was so impressed, he took photos and posted to his local community Facebook page. From this, a local journalist got in touch and both Motorhomes and Campervans Against Litter and CAMpRA were given some really positive publicity.
Following this, CAMpRA launched a nationwide call to its Facebook members to organise Sleep Out to Help Out initiatives all over the country in 2021 once restrictions were lifted. (see list). Minor glitches had been ironed out and guidelines for organising a SOTHO were drawn up so that any member could initiate one and, from this point, the idea began to snowball.
Following a lull, during the upsurge of the Omicron variant of Covid, the SOTHO started to happen again in February 2022 with the very successful Royal Quays/Backworth Hall meet.
More are planned so keep an eye out on Facebook.
Planning a SOTHO
If you are interested in arranging or hosting a CAMpRA SOTHO then please contact Tracey Barkwill at email@example.com to register. Remember that these initiatives are also designed to demonstrate that motorcaravan Aires support local businesses and to remove any negative preconceived ideas about motorcaravan owners.
Read our Guidelines for Planning SOTHO here
February 13th – Royal Quays North Tyneside – Tracey Barkwill
February 14th – Backworth Hall, North Tyneside – Tracey Barkwill
July 2021 – Northumberland Sleep Out to Help Out at Townfoot Farm, Shilbottle – Tracey Barkwill
May 2021 – East Midlands – Tim Pringle
May 2021 – Louth Lincolnshire – Zoe Watson
May 2021 – Tyneside – Tracey Barkwill
May 2021 – Cheviots – Eddie Yarrow
May 2021 – Hartlepool and Durham – Janet Mason
Spotlight on North Tyneside – February 2022
Spotlight on Hartlepool and Durham – May 2021
Spotlight on Louth – 2021
As a direct result of this SOTHO, Louth Livestock Market applied for and has been granted an exemption certificate and is now a CAMpRA Accredited Aire.