Hundreds of volunteers sleep rough on Hemel school grounds to raise money for vulnerable
More than 200 people swapped their cosy beds for cold sleeping bags on Hemel Hempstead School grounds, helping raise £35,000 for vulnerable people in Dacorum.
On Friday evening, volunteers took to the cold, hard concrete of the school grounds, setting out their sleeping bags on top of large cardboard boxes, donated by Hemel removal company JamVans.
The sleepout was organised by homelessness charity DENS, who support those facing poverty and social exclusion in Dacorum.
Nicky Maxwell-Braithwaite, DENS events manager . "The challenge was made even harder given the current cold spell the UK is facing, however this didn’t dampen spirits.
"In fact, our amazing team of Social Enterprise Services Users stayed awake all night, handing out cups of homemade hearty soup and steaming hot drinks from the DENS Coffee Cart to keep everyone warm".
"Our sincere thanks go to all those who supported our Sleepout including the volunteers who gave up their time to make the event the success it was”.
Newly -appointed DENS ambassador Joe Dempsie added: “It was an awesome experience. I was humbled to see how many people came out in force, and were prepared to sleep rough for the night in order to help rebuild lives in this community
Also joining the Sleepout was ex-hostel resident Jayne, who experienced first-hand, the services DENS provide.
“I am so proud to be a rough sleeper tonight. Around this time last year, I found myself homeless," she said.
"The Elms Hostel staff welcomed me in and helped me see a way forward. If it wasn’t for DENS, I’d be dead, it’s as simple as that. DENS supported me through my darkest time and helped me when I was at rock bottom - I now have my own home.
"Doing the sleepout is the least I can do to support this amazing charity”.