Sleep rough to raise awareness

Guardian reporter Matt Brooks spend the night sleeping out in Parkgate Shopping Centre in Rotherham, raising money for Safe@Last.  Matt is pictured with Safe@Last operations director Mark Smith, Lady Gaga impersonator Leanne Green and other fundraisers  (w111024-6a)
Guardian reporter Matt Brooks spend the night sleeping out in Parkgate Shopping Centre in Rotherham, raising money for Safe@Last. Matt is pictured with Safe@Last operations director Mark Smith, Lady Gaga impersonator Leanne Green and other fundraisers (w111024-6a)

A DINNINGTON charity is urging people to sleep rough for one night, so young runaways do not have to.

Safe@Last is calling for people to take part in The Big Sleepout at Parkgate shopping centre on 19th October.

Maddy Kay, Nathan Youdan, Lilli Chambers, Rowan Arundell, Bradley Hilbert, Jasmin Goldstraw and Millie Vine

Maddy Kay, Nathan Youdan, Lilli Chambers, Rowan Arundell, Bradley Hilbert, Jasmin Goldstraw and Millie Vine

Since the first event in 2007, more than 1,000 people have taken part and slept rough for one night, raising more than £7,000.

The event helps to give participants an insight into what it could be like for the many thousands of young runaways who find themselves sleeping rough.

Those taking part have to forgo all comforts for the night as they are only allowed basic items to keep warm such as a sleeping bag and cardboard box.

In order to continue their work and deliver vital services, Safe@Last has to fundraise. This year the charity hopes to have more than 500 participants sleeping rough across the four venues.

Fundraising officer Barbara Raszyk said: “The Big Sleepout provides a chance for us to highlight the struggles young runaways face and for people to have a small taste of what sleeping rough on the streets might be like.”

“When children sleep rough they do it because they feel they have no other choice. They do it because they judge their other options as worse than a cold, lonely, dirty night on the streets.”

“The money raised at these events will help us to continue to ensure that young people across South Yorkshire know they have a safer choice.”

This year’s events are Friday 28th September at Lakeside Village Doncaster, Friday 5th October at The Core Barnsley, Friday 12th October at Don Valley Stadium Sheffield and Friday 19th at Parkgate Shopping Rotherham.To find out more visit www.thebigsleepout.co.uk