After the previous year’s cancellation of the annual Sleepout, Community Action was once again able to take pupils to an overnight at St Basils Charity in Birmingham, one of its oldest CA partnerships. 172 pupils and 12 staff were met in the car park by St Basils organisers and residents who gave talks about their work to alleviate homelessness among young people aged 16 to 25.

Pupils were given tips about how to pitch cardboard shelters, where they bedded down for the night.

While a single night sleeping rough cannot replicate the harsh experience of someone living homeless, pupils do gain a deeper, lasting understanding of the hardships that some young people face daily, and it instils a new urgency to help wherever they can. Their sponsorship on the night raised in excess of £10,000 for St Basils.

Oundle’s relationship with St Basils Charity dates to its early days in Birmingham when the shelter was known as “The Boot”, in reference to the plight of the young men who had been kicked out of their accommodation and made homeless. Today, St Basils is the largest regional organisation in the UK working with young people who are homeless or in danger of homelessness. Every year it supports up to 5000 young people and accommodates over 1,000, helping them with advice, education and support. Oundle’s first Community Action Sleepout was held in 1995, and has become an annual fixture in the calendar for every pupil who joins CA.