HARDY fund-raisers braved sub-zero temperatures and slept outdoors in aid of Rugby’s homelessness charity.
Mayor Tom Mahoney was among 15 people to take part in the Hope4 Sleepout outside the charity’s Newbold Road HQ on Friday night (February 1) – when temperatures plummeted to minus four degrees celcius.
The youngest of the group was 15-year-old Lawrence Sheriff student Samren Reddy, a member of the UK Youth Parliament, who personally raised £350 in sponsorship money.
His proud mum Samantha said: “Samren was not only looking to raise much needed fund for the charity but also raise awareness on the topic of homelessness.
“He wanted to get young people talking about homelessness, and to understand that this can happen to anyone for various reasons, such as mental health, loss of income, family breakdown or substance abuse.”
Georgina Newton, one of the event’s organisers, said: “This was my second time taking part but it was still a challenge. I found it hard to sleep with the traffic noise and the cold.
“It’s certainly not a ‘lifestyle choice’ anyone would make easily, and it brings home just how important all the Winter Shelters are across the country at this time of year.”
Hope4 chair Diana Mansell said the event had so far raised enough to run the Hope Centre – which costs £200 a day – for over a month.
She added: “Everyone rose to the challenge and there were a number of highly creative cardboard constructions that seemed to keep their inhabitants fairly warm.
“However it was really cold, noisy, challenging and I personally felt quite vulnerable even though I was part of a group.
“Having finally got to sleep I woke up several times as I thought someone was standing right next to me – it just brought home how vulnerable you are on the streets, particularly if you are on your own.
“We have to work to find a solution to rough sleeping nationally and locally.”
On behalf of Hope4, she thanked those who took part in or sponsored the events.
Visit www.mydonate.bt.com/events/hope4sleepout19/480005 to donate.