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Sleeping rough to support Make Runaways Safe and Ghanaian children
On a chilly Friday in February the 177th Erdington Methodist Scout and Explorer groups took part in a sleepout to raise money and awareness for The Children’s Society. In all, around 30 Scouts and Explorers (aged 10-18) slept outside to support young people.
The children came up with the idea when planning for their Global Challenge badge work, which required them to consider issues affecting people in their community, and compare this to the same issue faced by communities abroad.
They chose to investigate the issue of children who run away, and they took part in a session exploring the reasons children might run away, and the consequences of this.
Make Runaways Safe and Childrens House of Hope
Part of the requirement for their challenge was the consider the same issue at home and abroad, so we thought about child runaways and homelessness in our home city of Birmingham, and also in the villages of Abura and Takoradi in Ghana.
They chose to support The Children’s Society due to their fantastic work in Birmingham with young runaways, and an organisation called Childrens House of Hope for their work delivering help and aid to children of all ages in the villages mentioned in Ghana.
The children collected clothes, toys and stationery to send to Ghana, and raised the money to ship the box. They also raised funds from family and friends to sleep outside to raise money for The Children’s Society.
A cardboard box and a sleeping bag
For the sleepout, they were provided with cardboard boxes, and were allowed to bring a sleeping bag, but the rest was up to them.
We stayed outside until around 5am (quite impressive as we had the police helicopter, a dog barking and numerous sirens to contend with!) before we got really cold and came indoors.
Then it was up at 7am to prepare for the coffee morning. Leaders and parents and Explorers made cupcakes, cookies, bacon rolls and hot drinks to sell to parents, family, friends and members of the church and scouting communities.
'Proud that I’m making a difference'
Scouts and Explorers served and washed up, and raised an additional £150 on top of the money raised at the carol service collections over Christmas, and we think we have raised in excess of £700 for The Children’s Society, though the money is still coming in!
Scouts were asked to write how the experience had made them feel the next morning, and we reflected on these words by candlelight at the next group meeting. Common feelings that were described included feeling cold, squashed, lonely, uncomfortable, drained, frightened and tired.
One, however, read: 'Proud that I’m making a difference'.
I think that just about sums it up.
By Camilla Legate, assistant Scout leader with the 177th Erdington Methodist Scouts
The Scouts and Explorers who raised funds and slept rough
What you can do next
Has your local authority pledged to uphold our Runaways Charter? Find out – use our map