Dozens sleep rough at Lakeside Village for charity

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More than 70 people slept rough at a Doncaster shopping centre to raise cash for charity.

Children’s charity Safe@Last held its first Big Sleepout event of 2014 at Lakeside Village Shopping Outlet with young and old sleeping rough to raise funds and awareness to support the estimated 4000 children and young people in South Yorkshire that run away from home each year.

The Big Sleepout aims to give supporters a taste of what it might be like for young runaways who feel they have no choice but to sleep rough.

The event attracted a variety of sleepers of all ages including individuals, couples, scouts groups and families.

Helen McKinney, who slept rough with her two daughters and three grandchildren said: “I’ve been involved with Safe@Last from the beginning and was among the first to answer the helpline in 2004. My daughter Roisin and her three children slept rough last year, so I thought I’d take the leap and brave the cold myself this year.

“It made me even more aware of the dangers and hardships that young vulnerable children have to endure when they run away. My grandchildren had an exciting night surrounded by people who love them, warm clothing and a place of safety, and they hope that the money we have raised will help other children less fortunate who may be in real danger through running away.”

Cheryl Sadler Centre Manager from Lakeside Village said: “We were excited to host the event again this year. This was the fifth time at Lakeside Village. Over the years our customers and the volunteers that have taken part have raised a fantastic amount of money. We are proud as a centre to highlight awareness and support such a worthy charity.”

The Big Sleepout in Doncaster was the first of the year with events still to come at Voluntary Action in Barnsley on Friday 10th October and Parkgate Shopping in Rotherham on Friday 17th October.

See www.thebigsleepout.co.uk for details.