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Sleepout to help ‘hidden homeless’ in Pickering
12:00pm Wednesday 23rd January 2013 in News
A GROUP of Pickering residents is planning to brave the elements and sleep ‘rough’ in the town to raise awareness of the homeless charity SASH.
The Pickering sleepout is one of four sleepout events taking place in North Yorkshire in March in aid of SASH, which helps to prevent young people from becoming homeless.
Nightstop ensures young people are kept safe at night in an emergency, thanks to a network of volunteer hosts across the region who provide a bed for the night, an evening meal and breakfast the next day.
This enables the young people to access the help they need to resolve their problems, so that a time of crisis does not lead to long-term homelessness and unemployment.
The groups sleeping out in Pickering on Friday, March 8, include the Guides, Pickering Youth Council, Explorer Scouts, church and other youth groups along with several individuals including Pickering mayor Coun William Oxley. Breakfast will be served in Pickering Memorial Hall on Saturday morning.
Organiser Joan Lovejoy said they were calling on local individuals and businesses for their support.
“We’re delighted with the support we have received so far. The Rotary Club has agreed to provide stewards and Ryedale Lions will be providing breakfast, but we are looking for more help with sponsorship and donations from the local community and businesses,” she said.
“Another way of showing your support is to join us for breakfast on the Saturday morning – all are welcome and we would love to see you there.”
A spokesperson for SASH said youth homelessness in Ryedale, as elsewhere, was very much a hidden problem.
“Rather than sleeping on the streets, young people tend to “sofa surf” with friends and relatives until they run out of options and finally seek help,” she said.
“Last year, the charity experienced a surge in demand of more than 90 per cent for its Nightstop service, arranging more than 840 nights of accommodation for vulnerable young people aged 16-24.”
The spokesperson added that over half of those it helped were homeless as a result of family breakdown, and many of them were just 16 or 17 years old.
“In the current economic climate and with the uncertainty surrounding the impact of benefit changes, the pressure is mounting on households and individuals when it comes to housing.
“SASH is predicting another difficult year for young people unable to live with their family and struggling to find accommodation,” they added.
Anyone interested in getting involved in the Pickering sleepout can phone Joan Lovejoy on 01751 475438.
More information about SASH and registration forms for the event can be found at www.sash-uk.org.uk