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Mount Girls Sleep Out to Support York’s Homeless

Pupils at The Mount School in York are raising awareness for the plight of the city’s homeless by holding an outdoor sleep out, and have invited pupils from other schools to take part.

Girls at The Mount School are keen to encourage others to take a compassionate approach to the homeless community by experiencing first-hand what it’s like to sleep rough. The sleep out will take place, come rain or shine, on Friday 24 March. The girls will fend off the cold in their sleeping bags with cardboard boxes, newspaper and other makeshift items commonly used by York’s homeless.

Orlaith Kelly, Sophie Lofthouse and Anna Long in Year 10 at the all-girl Quaker school, said, “We wanted to find another, active way of raising awareness. We didn’t want to focus on raising money because it doesn’t necessarily make a difference in the long run, but a raised awareness can last a lifetime.”

The pupils’ inspiration came from examining the lives and work of Nobel Peace Laureates, and they wanted to find a local initiative to reduce extreme poverty.

“One of the ten ‘Billion Acts Of Peace’ topics is to reduce global poverty, so we have opted to bring this to York,” explains Orlaith. “This has become a much bigger job than we had at first realised.” The ‘One Billion Acts of Peace’ campaign is a global citizens’ movement designed to tackle the most important problems facing humanity today.

Adrienne Richmond, Principal of The Mount School, said, “It is incredibly heart-warming to see these young people take it upon themselves to make the world around them a better place, and challenging us all to connect with our wider community. We need more of this, especially in an age of President Trump and Brexit. If the weather presents a hazard, they will be moved indoors for health and safety reasons; and the girls are very much aware that for York’s homeless, this is rarely an option.”

The pupils will begin the evening with a screening of the film, “I, Daniel Blake” which deals with poverty and the plight of the modern homeless community.

In 2012, a group of Sixth Form students at The Mount created a short film, “Homelessness Redefined” examining the prejudices faced by York’s homeless which enforce a cycle of dependency.

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