The exceptionally cold and wet weather over the last few days have helped us turn our minds to those who are living without shelter, warmth, food and friendship. Last night the young people in Upper Elements considered this by "stepping into the shoes of the homeless" when they embarked upon their overnight "little sleep out" in the SMH Sports Hall for ‘Nightsafe’ charity (for the young homeless in Blackburn).

As part of this undertaking the children considered some of the practicalities of living on the streets - how would they be able to carry out the basic "activities of daily living" eating, washing etc. that we take for granted? How would they survive in the absence of friendship, safety or somewhere to learn or work. Pam Holgate from Nightsafe, visited us in the evening to give us some insight into the world of a young homeless person.

The idea originated from our “God is Young” sessions led by Donna Worthington in the Christmas term. Pupils were challenged to have a dream, identify how that dream (for the poor, homeless or for the planet) is underpinned by our Christian and Jesuit Pupil Profile virtues and then to think practically how this could be brought to fruition.

The children spent the evening in the sports hall with a presentation from Nightsafe staff, prayer and reflection and activities and drama workshop. After an evening snack, the children settled down in home clothes and a sleeping bag on the floor of the SMH sports hall until this morning.

Although not outside and in a safe environment, supervised throughout by SMH staff, it nonetheless, helped our pupils appreciate some of the discomforts of “sleeping rough”; encouraging them to be loving and compassionate towards those who are without food, shelter, warmth, friendship or employment. They are ‘young men and women for others.’

We invite the whole SMH community to support our pupils' efforts for Nightsafe via the Justgiving link below: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/upperelementsnightsafe