Students sleep rough for charity

Students may spare a few quid for charity every so often, but campaigners have taken their action to a new level by sleeping rough outside the Union.

Around twenty students braved the cold on Thursday night as part of an annual sleep-out event to raise awareness of homelessness.

The night was organised by Amnesty International, Homed and STAR societies, and ran for over 12 hours from 6pm until 7am on Friday morning.

Students slept on cardboard and kept warm in thermal sleeping bags donated by the Hiking Society.

Student Yasmin Wright said, ‘It was a real eye-opener. I found it virtually impossible to sleep because of how cold I was! It really made me appreciate the simple things that we take for granted’.

The evening included entertainment from Swing Soc and bands The Paisley Royals and All I Live For.

The Spoken Word Society also read poems with the theme of sleeping under the stars.

Fundraiser from Leeds homeless charity St George’s Crypt Arja Copperwheat explained, ‘Many people think we are a soup kitchen for older men. This is not the case. The average age of people who come to us is 24. We want to give them lots of opportunities to change their lives.’

The event also ran a cake sale to raise funds for homeless charities.

Speaking ahead of the event, President of Homed Hayley Rundle told The Gryphon, ‘I think the sleep-out is a really valuable event. There’s a safe environment, with nothing like the fear or insecurity that makes sleeping rough such a serious issue’.

President of LUU Amnesty International Wil Hutton said, ‘In terms of funds and awareness, Sleepout 2015 was a great success. Amnesty was proud to play a part alongside Star and Homed, and would highly encourage students to engage further with such important issues as social destitution.’

Josie Hough

Image courtesy of Jack Roberts

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