On Saturday 24th September, 130 Oundle School pupils and nine members of staff headed to Birmingham to experience a soggy night under damp cardboard (it rained very hard from midnight until the pupils awoke at 6am) in a car park at St Basils, one of the largest and most successful agencies in the United Kingdom working with young homeless people.
For one night, pupils had a taste of the reality experienced by the thousands of people in this country, who sleep rough night after night. It is hoped that as well as raising awareness of the plight of homeless people, the Sleepout will raise in excess of £10,000 for this very worthy charity. Various talks on the work of St Basils were given throughout the evening by organisers and residents.
Liz Dillarstone, Head of Community Action at Oundle School, commented “We hope that our pupils will gain a deeper understanding of homeless issues as a result of this exercise and that they will be inspired by the work of St Basils, which relies heavily on fundraising to support its programme. St Basils provides this bespoke event for our bi-annual Community Action Field Weekend.”
Pupil, Georgia Croxford (15) commented, “The Sleepout was harder than I anticipated. The heavy down pour of rain did not help the situation and our makeshift shelter had no chance against the elements. It really brought in to perspective how privileged our lives are. I came into the event with the thought that it would be easy. I remember bragging to my friends saying that ‘I could do this for a week minimum’, but now I see that no one should be made to do this ever, even for a night.”
Pupil, James Slater (15), "The St Basils Sleepout was a unique experience. I think we all underestimated how much of a challenge it would be and quickly saw how hard survival is for some people. Considering that we only had to sleep out for one night and were rewarded with toast and a hot shower in the morning, when some people have to survive like that for long periods of time we were able to see what an amazing service St Basils provides for the community and the incredible, ongoing support given to those who depend on them. It has really inspired me to do more fundraising for St Basils and other charities."
Fundraising Organiser at St Basils, Steve Rainbow commented, "Oundle School has been involved with the St Basils Sleepout for many years and has helped develop it into the event it is today. This latest branch of Sleepout has been tailor made to suit the requirements of the School in fulfilling its community work programme and it is something that could be rolled out to other large schools who wish to raise awareness of homelessness to their pupils. Oundle hopes to raise over £10,000 from this venture and in doing so continue the support it has given St Basils in their fight against youth homelessness."
Groups of 15 or less students are welcome to join our BIG SleepOut. Alternatively we are happy to provide advice and assistance to schools interested in doing their own SleepOut, with a larger group, in aid of St Basils. Click on the buttons below for more information: