Students give up their beds to make a stand against poverty and homelessness

Big Student Sleepout cheque presentation

Teesside University students who braved the cold for the very first Big Student Sleepout have seen their fundraising efforts commended after they raised almost £7,500 for charity.

Around 40 students took part in the Big Student Sleepout at Teesside University in December when they were asked to give up their beds for one evening to help raise money for some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Supported by national charity CEO Sleepout, this was the country’s first official Big Student Sleepout and there are plans to make it an annual event at the University.

Overall the students raised £7,456 and the money will go towards the Salvation Army, My Sisters Place, The Moses Project and Grandparents Plus, as well as CEO Sleepout – all charities which the students chose to support.

They were also able to log their activity through Volun-tees, Teesside University’s initiative which helps staff, students and graduates engage in volunteering activities to support their development and employability.

Anna Mockler is in the third year of her Psychology degree and was one of the students who took part.

She said: “I had done sleepouts before with the Teesside Philanthropic Foundation and was delighted when the University arranged to have the first Big Student Sleepout.

“I am passionate about helping homeless people in the area and it is always very humbling to take part. This particular night was bitterly cold and you can’t help yourself thinking about how difficult it must be for people who have to experience that every night.

“It is fantastic to be able to raise so much money while also raising awareness about homelessness and poverty at the same time.”

The Big Student Sleepout took place at Teesside University on 7 December and during the night the Salvation Army came along to talk to the students and they also provided breakfast in the morning.

Bianca Robinson, CEO of CEO Sleepout UK, said: “I am over the moon that so many students got behind the very first Big Student Sleepout – they experienced some pretty horrendous weather.

“The overall philosophy is to encourage people to care and show compassion for those less fortunate than themselves.

“The students at Teesside University certainly bought in to that philosophy and have made a huge effort to raise such a fantastic amount of money.”

Professor Mark Simpson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) at Teesside University, also took part in the sleepout alongside the students.

He said: “It was a very successful and thought-provoking event which fits in with our Future Facing Learning initiative in terms of encouraging our students to be socially and ethically engaged.

“It is important for students to take part in these kinds of activities alongside their studies and we are looking forward to holding more Big Student Sleepouts in the future.”