No luxuries as Wigan school pupils face sleepout challenge

High school pupils lost the luxury of their comfortable beds as they took part in a sleepout to learn about homelessness.
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Members of year eight at The Deanery CE High School set up a camp using cardboard and had just a pillow, sleeping bag and bottle of water.

They had to go without their mobile phones and snacks to find out what life was like for people without a permanent roof over their heads.

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The VIP (values in practice) sleepout involved 19 pupils, who performed role plays focusing on the challenges faced by homeless people and created posters to remove the stigma around homelessness.

Pupils at the sleepoutPupils at the sleepout
Pupils at the sleepout

As well as raising awareness of homeless, the event was designed to highlight The Brick’s work and collect donations for its food bank.

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Staff from the charity spoke about their roles and how they support people in the borough who are homeless or in crisis.

Organiser and leader of the school’s values in practice group, Paul Lindley, said: “The sleepout was a great success. The involvement of The Brick staff enabled students to gain a better understanding of homelessness and to challenge stereotypical views.

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“Students were impeccably behaved throughout and showed maturity well beyond their age.

“They coped remarkably well with sleeping on cardboard, with not one single complaint, and they are now looking to collect as many donations as they can for The Brick’s food bank.

“I hope this experience has helped them grow as young people, develop self-confidence and to inspire them to be the change they want to see in the future.”

Headteacher Martin Wood said: “We are immensely proud of our year eight pupils who have participated in the sleepout to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness in Wigan.

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“The pupils spent the night sleeping on cardboard in our school sports hall, to experience a night without all the usual home comforts and to understand the difficulties homeless people face on a daily basis.

“Pupils are continuing to make food donations to The Brick charity following this event and our VIP pupils certainly demonstrated our school values of faith, hope, courage, love, wisdom and integrity through participating in the sleepout.”

The Brick’s CEO Louise Green said: “We are extremely grateful for the support of our community and for The Deanery to arrange a sleepout for their year eight students is amazing.

“To hear about all the activities they took part in to raise awareness for homelessness in our community was an inspiration for us all, and a wonderful thing to see in children only aged 12 and 13.

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“If it helps with their understanding and empathy when they come across people sleeping rough in our community, then that is a very positive outcome and is something that we hope will stay with them into adulthood.

“We are also grateful for all the donations from The Deanery for our food bank, as we really need all the help we can get right now, to keep the food bank stocked during increasingly difficult times.”

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