Pupils brave the cold for Birmingham’s homeless

Sleepout helps raise funds for homeless communities.

Pupils from Eden Boys’ School, Birmingham and Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Birmingham East, braved icy conditions as they took part in the Big Brum Sleepout to raise funds for homeless young people.

More than twenty pupils and staff from the schools, which are both part of Star Academies, braved sub-zero temperatures as they bedded down in cardboard boxes for the night in the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral.

The sleep-out was held on behalf of local charity, St Basils, who help young people to find and keep a home, grow their confidence and prevent homelessness.

Barrie Hodge Head of Fundraising at St Basils said: “We are always very impressed when young people take an interest in social issues, we’re delighted that the pupils from Eden school took part in the St Basils Big Birmingham Sleepout in the grounds of St Philips Cathedral.

“The issue of homelessness is unfortunately on the rise with a 42% increase across the West Midlands last year and the money raise from this sponsored event will really make a difference to our local community.

“The Eden pupils should be very proud of themselves, as we are and very much appreciate the efforts they put in to help us end youth homelessness.”

Teachers say that the pupils who took part were keen to make a difference when they saw how difficult life can be for homeless people in Birmingham.

Asiyah Ravat, Executive Principal at Eden Boys’ School, Birmingham and Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Birmingham East, said: “The boys were really passionate about the cause and were very keen to take part.

“It was heart-warming to see students show so much interest in helping the homeless. They wanted to understand what life is like for these local homeless people and they were able to show real empathy for their plight.

“As a school, we are committed to educating our pupils about the importance of making a positive contribution to society and making our local community a better place to live.”

The sleep-out is just one part of both school’s wider annual charitable drive, the Festive Winter Gift Programme, which takes place across all 28 schools that are part of the multi-academy trust, Star Academies.

As part of the programme, pupils from both schools have also gathered gifts and provided a Christmas lunch for elderly people, raised funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and collected food donations for the Aston and Nechells Food Bank.

Mufti Hamid Patel CBE, Chief Executive of Star Academies, said: “At Star Academies, we are committed to nurturing our pupils to develop a genuine desire to support those less fortunate than themselves. The festive season is one of the times in our school calendar when we step up our efforts to offer a helping hand to those in need.

“Once again this year, it is extremely heartening to see our pupils, parents and staff embrace our Winter Gift Programme by reaching out into their communities to put smiles on the faces of the most vulnerable.

“Together, we want to ensure that no one in our community is without company, a card or gift at the time of year when our country is celebrating a national holiday.”