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The cold world of the homeless

We have been briefed on the signs of hypothermia to watch out for and the essential sleep out item – a cardboard box to lie on

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The Big Sleep Out for Northampton Hope Centre                                   Picture: @NptonHopeCentre

It’s appropriate that the first assignment for The NeneQuirer is a look at homelessness because at the time of writing the magazine does not yet have a home.

I am joining The Big Sleep Out, Northampton Hope Centre’s annual fund raising event that last year attracted 140 participants and raised £38,000 to help the centre fight the causes of homelessness.

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Northampton MP David Mackintosh taking part in the sleep out                     Pic: davidmackintosh.org

The idea is as simple as it sounds, you sleep out like you’re homeless for one night and you collect sponsorship for doing so. Of course you are not facing the full range of challenges that bring people to that situation in real life, but you are at least experiencing the cold of their world.

In June the BBC reported on a council investigation that found 21 people were habitually sleeping rough on the streets of Northampton.

This year it is happening in Abington Park between the bandstand and the cafe. We have been provided with a kit list, we get signed in and out by stewards and have been briefed on the signs of hypothermia to watch out for. The kit, I should add, is extra layers of clothes, sleeping bags and the essential sleep out item – a cardboard box to lie on.

A lecturer from the University of Northampton is taking part.

At the moment the temperature is -4c, for the sleep out tonight a ‘real feel’ of -1c is predicted as well as intermittent showers.

My Just Giving page for the sleep out is here.

 

For the purposes of posterity, here is the…

Kit list

Item Purpose/Description Essential Option
Cardboard box To sleep in or on!
Roll mat or plastic cover To put on the ground if damp
Plastic sheeting or ‘survival bag’ To put over your box if raining or snowing
Pillow
Warm sleeping bag
Extra blankets Good for wrapping around you when sitting/ standing around
Clothing Layers ·        Thermal long johns, tights or leggings

·        Extra pair of jeans or tracksuit trousers OVER usual trousers

·        Waterproof trousers (in bag just in case)

·        Thermal long sleeved top/vest or tight fitting t-shirt as underlayer

·        Minimum two further thin layers, pref with long sleeves

·        Warm jumper/sweater(s) – at least one

·        Very warm, weather proof coat/jacket

·        Scarf

·        Thermal hat

·        Gloves

·        Waterproof jacket/cagoule

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weatherproof footwear & extra socks and/or thermal socks Preferably boots that are a size bigger than usual so that you have space for several pairs of socks without them being tight (tight shoes = cold feet!)  

 

 

Food & Drink ·        Energy bars, chocolate etc

·        Water or energy drinks

Torch Essential as it can get very dark!
Fold up chair/stool Warmer than sitting on the ground all night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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