Most of us can’t imagine what it would be like to sleep rough.
The first things that come to mind are the cold, uncomfortable sleeping conditions; in a doorway, under a bridge, in a derelict building, in a makeshift shelter, on a bench, in a bus stop, or elsewhere.
Imagine trying to go to sleep knowing that the few possessions you have might be stolen or vandalised. Add that to the constant fear and feeling of vulnerability that you may be woken by someone spitting, urinating, kicking or punching you.
For most of us, thankfully we will not experience that feeling. We know it happens, yet some people prefer to turn a blind eye, and hope that the problem will go away. Yet, try telling that to the young people that have ended up on the streets through no fault of their own. The reasons are varied and can include breakdown of family relationships, abuse or simply an abdication of parental responsibility.
People as young as 16 are on the streets alone and vulnerable with no support?
Can we really turn a blind eye?
Well for the 12 social policy students, from the university’s School of Applied Social Science, and their principal lecturer Dr Kepa Artaraz, turning a blind eye isn’t an option.
On March 24th, as part of the YMCA Downslink Group ‘Sleep Easy’ challenge they will be joining 100 volunteers to sleep rough on the street for a night, to raise money for the homeless.
Dr Kepa Artaraz and his social policy students
The ‘Sleep Easy challenge’ is aimed at helping more young people to move into safe accommodation. Serving the local community since 1919, the charity helps support over 10,000 children, young people and families across Sussex and Surrey each year. Last year the YMCA Downslink Group campaign raised £24,000 and this year they hope to reach £50,000.
They have warned the volunteers: “It won’t be warm and it won’t be comfortable, but we know that the money we raise will make a huge difference to many young people.”
Dr Kepa Artaraz, said: “The theme of the challenge is ‘Sleep rough so that others don’t have to’. It is a great cause and my students are passionate about taking part and helping the homeless. I hope others will feel the same and donate.”
The team have created a JustGiving page so please dig deep and support them with your donation and help more young people to move into safe accommodation.
For further information and to learn a little more about what social policy is please read more here.