Tuesday, 16 October 2018
ALMOST 100 people slept rough in the grounds of a school to raise money for a homelessness charity.
The Big Sleep Out event at Queen Anne’s School in Caversham raised £23,033 for Launchpad, which helps people who sleep on the streets of Reading or are housed in temporary or unsecure accommodation.
The 95 volunteers gathered at the school in Henley Road from 7pm on Friday with sleeping bags and cardboard boxes to build makeshift shelters which they decorated in different colours.
They left messages on a model of a bed explaining their reasons for taking part and giving words of encouragement to people who are homeless.
They then attended a talk in the school’s sports hall by a young woman previously supported by Launchpad.
She had grown up caring for an alcoholic mother and later had to live in a cramped bed-and-breakfast with her young son after fleeing a relationship due to domestic violence. She now lives in a rented flat in Reading for which the charity has provided furniture.
The “rough sleepers” then had a cup of soup and listened to a busker playing lullabies before attempting to get some sleep.
In the morning, each was presented with a certificate.
A spokeswoman for Launchpad said: “With just cardboard and a sleeping bag for comfort, they experienced what it’s like to get minimal sleep and be vulnerable to the elements.
“They returned to their safe homes and warm beds but, sadly, for others the reality is very different.
“We’d like to thank everyone who took part. We raised an overwhelming amount of money.”
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