Devonshire House Prep pupils raise thousands in 'sleep-out' for homelessness charities
PUBLISHED: 10:07 14 December 2019
Pupils at Devonshire House Prep School in Hampstead braved a downpour to "sleep out" in aid of homelessness charities - and they've managed to raise "pushing £10,000" so far.
About 75 students across the school spent Saturday night either in the school hall in a sleeping bag, or, for a small group of older students, outside. The initiative, designed to raise awareness of the dangerous and desperate situation many rough sleepers find themselves in, saw funds raised directly for The Big Sleep-out campaign - but also for charity Centrepoint.
Headteacher Stephanie Piper told this newspaper: "It was a really really great effort. They all understood the importance of why they were doing it. They were allowed a sleeping bag and nothing else. What we've raised is incredible. Some of the children raised £800 or £1,000 on their own!"
She said three children slept out the whole night. "I'm really proud of them," she added. "Proud of the way they treated this important topic and they really understood how while it was only one night for them, it's a reality for many. It's so important because it's such an issue in our area."
Pupil Krish Raja said they had been glad to take part. Krish said: "Me and a couple of friends managed to stay out all night through the wind and rain.
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"I wanted to feel the full experience of what it's like not to have a bed or a home. We understand that we slept outside for only one night and experienced only some of the harshness of the weather that the homeless face every day."
Another, Sophie Bramham, said: "My least favourite part was when we slept as it was uncomfortable and cold, but it felt like we really were sleeping on the streets."
The headteacher added: "Every day I and my students pass people sleeping rough. I'm so proud they're taking an interest in this problem."
Devonshire House is a co-educational prep school in Arkwright Road, Hampstead, it takes pupils from age three to 13.
The Big Sleep Out is a national campaign which sees people across the country brave the elements to raise awareness of rough sleeping.