Over 100 people take part in St Albans Sleepout to help homeless
PUBLISHED: 09:13 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:13 12 December 2019
The annual St Albans Sleepout was held at Oaklands College for the third year running and raised thousands for homeless people across Herts.
Volunteers braved the elements and built makeshift shelters out of recycled cardboard to sleep in overnight on Friday - staring at 9pm and finishing at 7am the following morning.
The event was sponsored by Herts Young Homeless (HYH), and organised with the help of local homelessness charities The Living Room, Centre 33, Emmaus and Open Door. On the night, there was a talk from a guest speaker who had experienced homelessness, a silent disco and performances from the college's music students.
Among the rough sleepers on the night was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Sarah Beazley. She said: "The Sleepout has been an annual event in St Albans for a few years now, and Oaklands College were wonderful and supportive hosts again this year.
"There was good spirit and creative cardboard construction, and fortunately for us no rain!
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"The charities could not do their vital work without the support of those who fund raise on their behalf, and those who joined the Sleepout not only did that but went one step further to raise awareness, experiencing for themselves what it is like to have to sleep outside with no home to go to.
"With the number of homeless people in Hertfordshire on the increase, I applaud them for their efforts in highlighting this sad and difficult issue and helping those who work to end homelessness."
Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Janet Smith also took part in the Sleepout to raise money for Open Door, and there was an arts workshop arranged by St Albans Arts to keep the sleepers entertained.
HYH fundraising and communications manager Caroline Neill said: "We would like to say a huge thanks to all the 120 amazing sleepers who took part in the St Albans Sleepout, kindly hosted at Oaklands College.
"We were so lucky to have dry weather, fantastic community spirit and great supporters. Thank you to everyone who donated or volunteered to help us."
The fundraising total is currently at around £30,000, and will go towards the five charities which organised the event.