South Yorkshire sleepout event to help young runaways

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A children’s charity is asking people in South Yorkshire to sleep rough for a night to help raise awareness of young runaways.

Safe@Last’s annual Big Sleepout event is taking place across Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley in October.

Now in its eighth year, the Big Sleepout aims to give participants an insight into what it could be like for the many thousands of young runaways who find themselves sleeping rough.

It is believed one in six young people who runs away from home will sleep rough for at least one night.

Supporters taking part in the event have to forgo all comforts, as they are allowed only basic items such as a sleeping bag and a cardboard box to keep warm.

In previous years participants have ranged from eight to 80 years of age, with scout groups, families, work colleagues, friends, couples and individuals signing up for the cause.

Barbara Raszyk, from the Big Sleepout team, said: “It’s great to see the people of South Yorkshire come together to endure a night of hardship to support the estimated 4,000 children and young people in South Yorkshire that run away from home each year.

“The funds and awareness raised each year from the events are crucial in helping us continue our services for vulnerable young runaways in South Yorkshire.”

The Sheffield Big Sleepout will take place at Crystal Peaks on October 3 followed by a Barnsley event at Voluntary Action Barnsley on October 10 and a Rotherham sleepout at Parkgate Shopping Centre on October 17.

Safe@Last provides a 24-hour free helpline and one-to-one support for young people and their families, an extensive education and prevention programme, and the only young persons’ refuge in the UK.

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