A group of teenage Explorers experienced what it is like to sleep out in zero degree temperatures after being saddened to hear about the impact of homelessness on young people just like them.
Clitheroe Smiley Explorers, who are Scouts aged between 14 and 18, were challenged to make an impact in their community and subsequently decided to support the homeless charity Nightsafe by holding a sponsored sleep out earlier this month.
Based in Blackburn with Darwen and the surrounding areas, Nightsafe provides a variety of holistic services to homeless young people aged 16 to 24 via several projects.
Explorers were shocked to learn about the number of young people who become homeless locally and have so far raised almost £1,000 for the charity, as well as delivering donations of groceries to the night shelter.
During the sleep out, Explorers and leaders used cardboard boxes and plastic to build make shift shelters around Whalley Methodist Church.
They were visited by Jan Larkin from Nightsafe who expressed the charity’s appreciation and informed them that her car thermometer was reading zero degrees.
All 16 Explorers and leaders managed to stay warm and fairly dry despite the freezing temperatures and the rain later, but couldn’t imagine what it would be like to live like this night after night. They were thankful to clear up and end the event with hot drinks and a bacon roll at 9am.
Talking about their experience after the sleep out, Explorer Ellen said: “I wouldn’t have felt safe doing this on my own.”
Meanwhile, Explorer Joel said: “I didn’t sleep much: cardboard isn’t comfortable especially when it’s wet!”
Explorer Ben added: “I wouldn’t want to go into college after this. I’d think I’d smell and you wouldn’t be able to concentrate.”
Another Explorer Sean pointed out: “You couldn’t keep a job very long if you were sleeping here.”
Thanks were expressed to Ewood Bikes for providing the cardboard, to Romeros and CJ’s in Whalley for their donations and to those at Whalley Methodist Church for allowing the Explorers to use their premises.