Volunteers needed to help raise awareness of youth homelessness

People taking part in the Northallerton Sleepout on March 22

People taking part in the Northallerton Sleepout on March 22

First published in News
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Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

PEOPLE are being asked to sleep on the streets of a North Yorkshire town to raise awareness of youth homelessness.

The charity, SASH, is looking for people to take part in a Sleepout event in Richmond on Friday, April 4.

It is the last in a series of six such events in Yorkshire, with one held recently in Northallerton and others in Harrogate, Kirkbymoorside, York and another due to take part in Beverley on March 29.

The aim is to raise awareness of the problem of hidden homelessness and raise money for emergency accommodation provided for vulnerable young people by SASH in the homes of trained volunteers.

After last weekend’s event in Northallerton, Hambleton District Councillor Bridget Fortune said: “SASH is an organisation that has a vital role to play. Some people think homelessness doesn't exist here, they don't want to hear about it or see it.

“In my heart I feel I must support SASH, to give them the encouragement they need to keep going."

The charity works to prevent 16 to 24-year-olds becoming homeless.

Its Nightstop volunteers offer a young person facing homelessness a bed for the night in their spare room, an evening meal and breakfast the next day.

The Nightstop initiative aims to keep the young person safe and supported while they get the help they need.

More than 200 people have signed up for the Sash sleep-out events this year.

Those taking part have included scouts, grandparents, families, faith groups, housing workers and former homeless people.

One of those who took part in the Sleepout event in Harrogate on March 22, Abi Aldred, said: “Sleeping out was a real challenge for me. It was almost impossible to sleep as my mind was constantly focused on the cold, you really couldn't escape from it.”

The Richmond SASH Sleepout takes place at St Mary's Church on Friday, April 4 from 10pm.

If you would like to take part or make a donation, visit; www.sash-uk.org.uk or contact SASH on 01904-652043. Alternatively call local organisers Scott and Gillian Lunn 07592 016476.

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