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Charity in sleep-over plan to highlight homeless plight
11:30pm Thursday 13th September 2012 in News
A CASH-strapped charity which helps homeless young people is staging a sleep-over to highlight the plight and raise funds.
Safe and Sound Homes (SASH) has helped more than 100 people aged between 16 and 24, and provided them with 353 bed-nights in North Yorkshire, said Sarah Ware, a leading volunteer with the charity.
She told Pickering Town Council that the demand for help was on the rise. Ten young people had been helped in Ryedale in recent months, she said. “Our aim is to give these young people a bed, a meal and shower facilities and to help them work out a permanent solution to their problems,” she added.
But because of cuts in funding from statutory organisations and authorities, SASH had a funding gap.
“Our services are seeing a rise in demand. Last year there was a record number of people needing help and it has risen each month,” said Ms Ware.
Now, SASH is organising a sleep-over in Pickering next March, run by the Girl Guides, Scouts, Pickering Youth Council and churches.
Last year, similar sleep-overs in Kirkbymoorside and York raised £8,500 and now SASH needs to raise £21,000 to fund its operations in York and North Yorkshire.
Those taking part can look forward to a bacon-butty breakfast at Pickering Memorial Hall which the trustees are making available to the charity.
“It is not just young people sleeping rough in the streets we are helping, but a number who are 16 or 17 who are what we call ‘sofa-surfers’ – those without somewhere permanent to sleep as a result of such things as family breakdowns or who may have been subject to abuse, making it inappropriate for them to go home,” said Mrs Ware.
But SASH also helps families, added Ms Ware.
“We run supporting lodgings in York and we are now going into the East Riding,” she said.
SASH provides accommodation and support from a single night up to two weeks through its nightstop scheme.
“We do not run a shelter or hostel – we rely on a network of local volunteers who accommodate young people in their own homes,” she said.
“Nightstop provides a safe home environment, food, a bed for the night and someone to talk to. It means vulnerable young people are not left isolated or at risk.”