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Leeds pupils sleep out to help homeless young people

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Pupils at the Co-operative Academy of Leeds will be swapping their beds for sleeping bags this Friday (23 February), to raise funds for youth homelessness charity Centrepoint.

Approximately 75 pupils across all age groups will bed down at the unheated Shine conference centre near the Academy. They will be joined by 25 volunteers and hope to raise £1000 in sponsorship.

Centrepoint Sleep Outs enable participants to experience a small taste of what some young homeless people in the UK have to endure every night when sleeping rough. Centrepoint supports 350 homeless young people each year in Yorkshire, and many more across the country. The charity provides not only a warm, safe place to stay but also support with health, education and employment.

Pupils decided to organise the event as part of a social action project delivered by Ahead Partnership as part of their #MaketheGrade programme, funded by the Careers & Enterprise Company. They've been working with business volunteers from Yorkshire Building Society since December to hone their ideas and plans with business coaching and mentoring. The students not only want to raise funds but also increase awareness of youth homelessness in the UK. They will screen films telling the stories of young people supported by Centrepoint during the event, to learn more about the charity’s work and impact.

The Academy’s Principal is Mr Jonny Mitchell, made famous by Channel 4’s 2013 programme Educating Yorkshire, during which he was at Thornhill Community Academy. Mr Mitchell will join pupils on Friday to launch the event.

Mr Mitchell, Principal at the Co-operative Academy of Leeds said: “This is a really powerful way for pupils to gain a small insight into what some young people sadly have to go through – young people not much older than they are now. I’m so proud that everyone at the Academy has thrown themselves into the project, and confident we will raise lots of money for Centrepoint and its vital work to support homeless young people.”

Chloe Sykes, Senior Regional Fundraising Officer at Centrepoint said: “Sleep Out doesn’t try to replicate the true terror of spending a night on the streets. But these pupils will experience some of the discomfort, cold and lack of sleep that some young people have to face. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who is taking part. All the funds raised will go towards Centrepoint’s work to provide a safe home, health support and help into education and training for 16-25 year olds in Yorkshire and across the UK.”

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