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De Montfort students spend a night out on the streets

Students James Birch and Hannah Slater kept a video diary of the DSU Sleep Out

A group of 18 students from De Montfort University spent a night sleeping outside in the city to experience part of what it can mean to be homeless.

Participants set up a camp of cardboard boxes on campus, and wrapped up against the harsh winter cold and rain.

The DSU Sleep Out took place on Saturday 27 February 2010 as part of National Student Volunteering Week.

As well as awareness, the group also hoped to raise £1000 for Leicester-based charity Action Homeless.

The organisation has been active for over 25 years and specialises in offering support and advice to homeless people who are facing addiction or mental health problems.

Realities of homelessness

At first the students kept their spirits up by playing card games and singing, but as they attempted to get to sleep they began to appreciate the realities of a winter night spent out on the streets.

Students sleeping out
The students used cardboard boxes to try and keep out the cold

The group had to endure some heckling from fellow course mates as they passed by them in the early hours, walking back from bars and clubs.

However they found others took an interest in the cause and stopped to make a donation.

Speaking to homeless people, who visited the students during the night, was a revealing meeting for some of the students.

James Birch said, "For us it was one night, but for them this is life; so it's good to experience that and change opinions on that sort of thing."


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