Sleepout to raise poverty awareness

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Sixteen young people and leaders from across the churches of the Tadcaster Benefice spent the night in St Mary’s Church, as part of the Great Advent Sleepout Challenge.

The aim of the event was to highlight the issues of homelessness and raise funds for the Church Urban Fund, whose mission is to inform, inspire, resource and support churches, as they work to tackle poverty and build awareness in the community.

During the night the young people were given a random collection of equipment and materials and challenged to create a life-size Nativity scene.

“Despite the fact that we chose a night when temperatures plummeted, we were surprisingly cosy,” said Reverend Canon Sue Sheriff. “Everyone was enthusiastic

and creative, taking the challenge very seriously and the result was amazing,” she added.

“We were fortunate that we had warm, dry sleeping bags, hot drinks, toilet facilities and good company. Discussion in the morning, over a bacon sandwich,

highlighted how much worse it would be to be cold, wet and alone.

“It was good to know that we could return to our warm beds and would not be spending night after night hoping for a safe place to sleep.”

Across the following weekend local people were encouraged to bring toys and toiletries to the life-size Nativity, which will be distributed to homeless and vulnerable families in the lead up to Christmas.