Excelsior Academy’s Sixth Form College students will spend a night out in the open to gain a snapshot of life for hundreds of young people without a home to call their own.
The 17 teenagers sleeping rough in a North Shields church car park will raise money to bolster the superb work of YMCA North Tyneside housing homeless young people in the area.
Their research has revealed more than 550 people aged between 16 and 25-years-old classed by the local authority as “roofless” in the North Tyneside district in 2013-14.
The local branch of the YMCA is staging the sleep out at St Cuthbert’s Church in Albion Road from 7pm this Friday March 18until 7am the next morning.
Excelsior volunteers will bed down for the night in sleeping bags, determined to make it through the night and raise funds for YMCA North Tyneside to provide even more accommodation for those in need.
Up to 60 people are expected at the event called ‘Sleep Easy. Sleep Rough So Others Don’t Have To.’
Laura Brewis, YMCA North Tyneside marketing co-ordinator, said: “We are trying to raise as much money as we can to help tackle this issue.
“People often don’t realise how close to home this can be. Four hundred young people aged 16 to 25 are referred to North Tyneside Council for housing and support needs every year.
“We have got 15 flats which we opened in our Sir James Knott housing project where we support young people referred to us from North Tyneside Council.
“We also have a community house in North Shields which can accommodate five young people.
“The ‘Sleep Easy’ event will help us to raise as much as we can to help these young people, to pay for staff to support them – they have needs such as drug addiction for some, others have no basic life skills and we need to help people on an individual level to help them broaden their horizons.”
A burger van from the award winning Fat Hippo restaurant will feed the Excelsior students and others sleeping rough who will take part in games and a cardboard box decorating contest to help keep warm and occupied during their sleep out.
The weather forecast is dry but the cold will no doubt bite during the small hours.
Deon Krishnan, Excelsior Academy Assistant Principal, has co-ordinated the school’s involvement in the event, working closely with YMCA North Tyneside chief executive officer Dean Titterton.
“We are building relationships with communities and business as part of our careers education guidance,” said Deon, who will be sleeping rough with the students.
“The students will need significant work and life experience before they head out into the real world from Excelsior and this event can give them a different perspective on what life is like for others less fortunate
“It is about raising our students’ awareness of homelessness and to take them out of their comfort zones.
“It is also about being involved in an event which is good and humanitarian. When they apply to go to university in future, universities are not just looking for academic qualifications, they are looking for well-rounded individuals with life experiences.”
Deon has created a Virgin Money Giving page to receive donations to support the Excelsior students’ sleep out.http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=excelsiorsleepeasy2016&pageUrl=2&isTeam=true
The students spending the night sleeping rough are: Charlotte Baird, Sarah Beattie, Katie Shaw, Sophie Watson, Niomie Nisbet, Nikita Mills, Katrin Mihalova, Amber Gallon, Jodie Thomson, Ryan Fuller, Connor Logan, Megan Greener, Rebecca Liddle, Kelsie Johnson, Arran Elliott, Jodie Holmes and Alex Dowson.
For more details about the event go to: http://ymcanorthtyneside.org/