Night spent in cardboard box to raise awareness of youth homelessness in North Tyneside

Staff and students slept rough to help raise awareness of youth homelessness in North Tyneside.

Friday, 25th March 2016, 3:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 27th March 2016, 10:20 am
The North Tyneside YMCA sleep-out.

Norham High School, in North Shields, spent last Friday night in St Cuthbert’s Church’s car park in an event organised by YMCA North Shields.

The charity says around 400 16 to 25-year-olds are referred to North Tyneside Council for housing support each year.

Dean Titterton, chief executive of YMCA North Tyneside, who took part in the sleep-out, said: “Housing is a big area of concern for us and it’s an issue we really need to tackle.

“We’re seeing a rise in demand for our support services and shared housing is fast-becoming the only affordable housing option for many young people.

“By sleeping rough, we aim to highlight these issues in a stark way.

“Partners across the borough work hard to make sure our young people would never be left to sleep on the street, and there’ll always be emergency accommodation available.

“However, if we don’t make affordable housing for our young people a priority, were going to see young people being forced into unsuitable and unsustainable housing situations more and more frequently and that’s something we must avoid.”

Around 70 people took part in the sleep-out, including 15 staff from Norham.

Norham’s executive headteacher David Baldwin, who took part, said: “Having a safe and comfortable home is a fundamental need and it’s deeply concerning to know that so many of our young people don’t have that.”

The sleep-out event will be supported by award-winning The Fat Hippo restaurant, which will be providing a free burger and chips meal for everyone taking part.