Roughing it for a good cause…
School by day, homeless shelter by night; within an hour of closing time, the school’s gates were flooded with cardboard and sleeping bags, as thirty five sixth form students decided to settle out for the night to experience what it’s like to be homeless.
As the torrential rain dwindled to a drizzle, the evening was spent chatting, singing and toasting marshmallows by the campfire. Games were played – including the darker and more exhilarating version of ‘hide and seek’, known as ‘man hunt’: a truly frightening experience! By twelve o’clock, various cardboard constructions had been built all around the perimeter of the school, the scent of instant hot chocolate filled the air and phrases such as “it’s cold,” and “I think I’m sleeping on a spider’s nest” could be heard muttered though layers of scarfs and blankets as every student struggled to maintain warmth in the cold and damp conditions.
Whilst we were sleeping under cardboard in the open air, this is probably where the comparison between us and genuine homelessness ends. We had a lot of fun, great food and music, we told stories and got to know each other better – there wasn’t a lot of suffering going on. In reality, being homeless makes you incredibly vulnerable, cold and lonely. Many homeless people have had to leave home due to challenging circumstances or abuse, and for one reason or another are unable to cope with what we see as a normal life. Inevitably, on the night, our conversation turned to these issues and just how fortunate we all are.
The purpose of the evening was to raise money to support the work of Step By Step, a charity that helps young people facing homelessness and adversity. We have already raised quite a bit but would love to secure more if possible – it’s not too late to donate! If you’d like to support their work, donations can be handed in via the School Office. Thank you.
Poppy Hulbert, Year 12