Sleep rough to help teenage runaways throughout South Yorkshire

Fundraisers for South Yorkshire charity Safe@Last taking part in last year's Big Sleepout.
Fundraisers for South Yorkshire charity Safe@Last taking part in last year's Big Sleepout.
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SLEEPING rough might not top many people’s to-do lists, but a charity is challenging South Yorkshire to experience homelessness for just one night.

Safe@Last, which offers a lifeline to children at risk of running away, is urging people to sign up for The Big Sleepout, taking place during September and October.

Brave volunteers will endure a night exposed to the elements, with only sleeping bags or cardboard boxes and clothing to keep them warm.

The aim is for participants to get a taste of what life can be like for young people forced on to the streets. All home comforts will be sacrificed to highlight the need to combat the problem.

The ethos behind the fundraising stunt is that members of the public sleep rough for one night so young runaways do not have to - as every penny raised will be ploughed into keeping Safe@Last a haven for under 16s across Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster, as well as offering advice and support and operating a helpline.

Organisers hope to get 500 people to sign up to the event, which was set up in 2007, and which is taking place at four venues this year.

Barbara Raszyk, fundraising officer for Dinnington based Safe@Last, 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 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 continue to ensure young people know they have a safer choice.”

Past events have attracted hundreds of people and helped to raise thousands of pounds for the charity, and this year is the third time an event is being held in Sheffield.

The first sleepout takes place at Lakeside Village, Doncaster, on Friday September 28.

Barnsley’s event will be held at The Core on Friday, October 5.

Sheffield’s will be hosted at Don Valley Stadium on Friday, October 12.

And the final sleepout will be held at Parkgate Shopping Centre in Rotherham on Friday, October 19.

Anyone who wants sign up can log on to www.thebigsleepout.co.uk for more information or call 01909 566 977.