Last Friday evening, 48 of our staff and students received a Young Supporters Award from Framework Housing Association, in recognition of their fundraising last October, the ‘Big Sleep Out’. Nadia Whittome MP was there to speak with the young people about their efforts and the students also heard from special guest and speaker Steve Judge.
As a school, we feel it’s very important to give back to the community and help those in need. In a climate with rising living costs and seeing people in the community struggle, we wanted to do something that makes a difference as well as educate our young people about the world around them and how they can continue to contribute and make a difference.
Framework as a charity stood out to us as they aligned with our values of putting people first and ensuring people are valued for who they are and what they can be. We looked at other projects of sleep outs that they have done in city centres and with football clubs and thought this gave us the chance to give our students a lived experience as well as raise money for a good cause. Students were given the opportunity to sign up for the event and we had over 120 students apply to be a part of this event, taking 40 students through to the final event. The event took place on Friday 14 October. During this fundraising event, the young people who chose to participate returned to school and spent the evening sleeping out there. They took part in a variety of activities including setting up camp and hot chocolate making. By taking part in this event, it gave young people the opportunity to come together and gain an insight into how a homeless person sleeps in the evenings, as well as getting to experience some outdoor fun and learn new skills.
The students fundraised themselves as a group collecting donations from family members, friends and teachers to raise money for the homeless raising £658.70 as a collective group. There were some stand out contributions with some students raising around £100 individually.
In addition to this, the kitchen staff at school heard about the event and also wanted to contribute to the evening making us our very own ‘soup kitchen’ for all students and staff at the event. Our local supermarket (Tesco) helped prepare us for the event by saving cardboard boxes for students to use throughout the event.
Our students recognised the challenges that the homeless have to deal with such as the weather, lack of resources and the loneliness they can face. Although students found this an enjoyable fundraiser for many of them it provided the stark reality of what being disadvantaged and homeless can actually be like. From this project students and staff have continued project work within the local community creating food collections for our local community food bank. We are looking forward to continuing to find new ways to contribute to the charity in the future.
‘Taking part in this has been really nice to help those people who are not as lucky as us. We’ve had to sleep uncomfortably for one night and this is what they do every night. We got to do this with our friends in school and they may face being somewhere more dangerous especially if they are alone. It makes you realise how lucky we really are and things we take for granted’.
We hope you enjoy our gallery of photos from the awards event on Friday and the Big Sleep Out. A huge well done to all!