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Pickering residents sleep out overnight to support SASH
10:29am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
MORE than 80 Pickering residents of all ages highlighted the plight of homeless young people by sleeping out overnight.
Hosted by York-based homeless charity SASH, the event was organised to raise awareness of youth homelessness in the area.
Rain did not deter the volunteers who sheltered in alleyways, porches and on the railway platform with just cardboard, plastic and sleeping bags for protection.
A team of stewards ensured the event ran safely and smoothly, and volunteers served more than 160 breakfasts in the memorial hall next morning.
Organiser Joan Lovejoy said: “It’s wonderful to think that we had so many people out there supporting SASH.
“I’d like to thank all the groups, businesses and individuals in Pickering who worked so hard to make this happen.”
Volunteer Joy Andrews said: “At 3am the rain was pouring down and the wind was cold, I’d had no sleep and was very uncomfortable. I began to think of all those who have to do this night in, night out. It must be exhausting and soul-destroying.”
As well as raising awareness of youth homelessness in Ryedale, the event was held to raise funds to support SASH’s work. Last year, the charity provided 840 nights of accommodation for young people across North Yorkshire through its Nightstop service. This gives vulnerable young people a bed for a few nights in an emergency so that a time of crisis does not lead to long-term homelessness and unemployment.
SASH director Peter Robinson said: “In North Yorkshire as elsewhere, youth homelessness is 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.”
A similar sleepout is taking place in Kirkbymoorside on Saturday.
For more information visit www.sash-uk.org.uk or phone 01904 652043.