Costessey pupils sleep rough - all in the name of charity

Kate ScotterDozens of pupils got a taste of what it is like to sleep rough during the winter months as they slept outside their school to raise money for charity.Kate Scotter

Dozens of pupils got a taste of what it is like to sleep rough during the winter months as they slept outside their school to raise money for charity.

More than 40 students and staff slept in tents in the grounds of Costessey High School as part of a sponsored event to raise awareness of what it is like to be homeless in winter and to raise money for the charity Shelter and the school's Duke of Edinburgh Award resources fund.

Youngsters put up their tents at the Middleton Crescent school on Friday night and slept over to Saturday morning in temperatures which dipped below freezing.

Overnight, they took part in activities, watched a film and huddled around the campfire. They woke to ground frost and icy conditions, but warmed up with hot chocolate and bacon butties. About �700 was raised from the event.

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Claire Lawson, teacher in charge of the Duke of Edinburgh Award event, said: 'It was absolutely fantastic; we had a brilliant time and all the pupils generally enjoyed talking to each other without the distraction of iPods and Playstations.

'It was bitterly cold - some couldn't sleep at all and others had to get up to sit around the fire because it was so cold.

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'There was quite a bit of frost when we woke up on Saturday so I think it got the message home of what it's like to be homeless at this time of year - and that wasn't even the coldest it's been recently. It's been a really successful event, which we hope to repeat in the future.'

Food for the event, which included soup and sausages, was provided by Sainsbury's.

The idea was based on the annual 'Sleep Out London' event held in Spitalfields Market when hundreds of fundraisers sleep on the street to raise money for the charity Centrepoint.

Last year, homelessness charities warned the number of young people faced with life on Norwich's streets was rising and would only get worse as the recession takes a stronger hold.

At the time, YMCA Norfolk said demand for its hostels and supported housing in the city and throughout the county outstripped supply despite a significant increase in the number of places available.

Are you taking part in an innovative project for charity? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email

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