Doncaster staff ditch their beds for homeless cause

Ready for bed: Lakeside Village shopping centre staff who took part in the Big Sleepout event.'     ''    Picture: Steve Taylor.
Ready for bed: Lakeside Village shopping centre staff who took part in the Big Sleepout event.' '' Picture: Steve Taylor.
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SOME people may have had trouble sleeping over the weekend as temperatures soared.

But for 75 volunteers at Lakeside Village Shopping Centre that was the least of their worries.

The group had assembled at the site next to White Rose Way to sleep rough for the night in support of the South Yorkshire based children’s charity Safe@Last.

Mattresses were banned for the night, with two sheets of cardboard provided as their only cushion against the hard pavement.

Lyndsey Parry, of Branton, was among those taking part in the event - and she said she would undertake the challenge again.

Lyndsey, who is deputy manager of the shopping centre which hosted the sleep-out, said: “I think we really enjoyed it, and it got to raise money for a good cause. It was certainly a different and novel experience.

“I think the hardest part was sleeping on the cardboard and trying to get comfortable. We had two layers of cardboard each and that was it.

All the people taking part brought their own sleeping bags in addition to the cardboard. And while Lyndsey had been expecting to be shivering her way through the night, the hot weekend weather proved to be a major bonus for them.

She said: “We couldn’t believe how lucky we were. It didn’t even get cold in the middle of the night.

“We’d all brought woolly hats, jogging tights, and thermals - but we found we were just too hot.

“I slept on and off for about four hours. But we had the lights on all night for health and safety reasons. I was surprised to get that much sleep.

“In the end, it was fun - but I don’t think spirits would have been quite so high if we had got the standard weather that you expect at this time of year and it’s important to remember some people have to sleep outside all year round.”

So far the event has raised around £2,700 for the charity. Safe@last works with and on behalf of children and young people who are at risk of homelessness through running away.

The Doncaster Big Sleepout is the first of four in South Yorkshire being held this Autumn.

Similar events are due to be held in Sheffield on October 14, Rotherham on October 21 and Barnsley on October 28.