Battersea pupils take on the Sleep Out challenge to raise money for youth homelessness charity

Battersea pupils hosted a Sleep Out challenge at their school to raise money for a youth homelessness charity.

The Westbridge Academy pupils swapped their beds for sleeping bags on February 24 in support of the homelessness charity Centrepoint. Centrepoint provides accommodation and support to homeless people aged between 16 and 25.

Pupils from Year 5 and Year 6 took part under the supervision of Clare Edet, one of the school’s assistant headteachers, alongside other members of staff. The children brought their sleeping bags with them to the school in Bolingbroke Walk, Westbridge Road, Wandsworth, excited by the opportunity to stay overnight.

On the evening of the Sleep Out, the pupils worked together to build shelters out of reclaimed materials, such as cardboard, which then had to undergo ‘stress’ tests and checks on waterproofing to assess how resilient they were.

Working together, they developed an understanding of the challenges people who experience rough sleeping face.

The Sleep Out is one of Centrepoint’s fundraising challenges where individuals, groups and organisations spend an evening without their bed to raise money and awareness of rough sleeping and homelessness.

Sleep Out does not replicate what it’s like to sleep rough, but gives an idea of the situation a lot of young people find themselves in, while also supporting those who face this as a reality.

Donal Daly, head of school at Westbridge Academy, said:

“I am very proud of all of our pupils who participated in the Sleep Out to raise awareness and money for the cause of ending homelessness.

“It was inspiring to see how deeply the pupils empathised with others and watch them being agents of positive change.”

Younger pupils also got involved in fundraising through a school-wide ‘Pyjama Day’ where pupils ditched their school uniforms and came to school in their pyjamas in exchange for a £1 donation for Centrepoint.

In total, £634.16 was raised by the Westbridge community.

Westbridge Academy will be welcoming a representative from Centrepoint for a ceremony to collect the cheque in the coming weeks.

Westbridge Academy hosted a similar event last year in aid of National Refugee Week.