Scouts’ Big Cardboard Sleep Out raises awareness of homelessness – and thousands for Porchlight…

What the garden looked like before
RAW MATERIALS The group had to make their own shelters out of cardboard and bin bags

Around 300 Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and their adult leaders slept in cardboard boxes at Adamswell Scout Campsite in Langton Green.
The District Commissioner for Tunbridge Wells Scouts, Brian Hobden, said on the night: “It’s fantastic the way in which our young people have taken this project to heart.
“Whilst we have had some fun here this evening, it’s also been very humbling to hear the conversations young people have had about the homeless.
“One Scout was overheard to have said, ‘I just cannot imagine sleeping like this every night, and to think this happens in our town.”
Everyone who took part was given the task of making their own shelter out of nothing more than cardboard boxes, bin bags and parcel tape.
Across Kent there were 3,000 taking part in the initiative at 22 locations, and they raised more than £30,000 in total.
In Tunbridge Wells alone, the children raised over £8,300. In the morning they were treated to hot chocolate and breakfast in recognition of their achievement.
Porchlight’s Rachel van Hoven said: “Despite our best efforts, homelessness will still affect future generations. One day these Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers will be people that can make a difference.
“We want them to grow up understanding the struggles faced by people who are homeless and knowing that they have the ability to change these people’s lives.
“Also, the money that they’ll raise by taking part will allow us to continue running a life-saving service for people who are living on the streets right now.”
Porchlight helps vulnerable and isolated people to receive support with their mental health, housing, education and employment.
Last year, the charity worked with 834 people sleeping rough on the streets of Kent, compared to 148 five years ago.
It offers children and adults with advice, guidance and skills to live independent lives, play an active role in their local community and fulfil their potential.
Kent Scouts’ county commissioner, Dean Harding, added: “Homelessness can happen to almost anyone and the Sleep Out will help to raise awareness about this important topic and provide funds for the work Porchlight do.
“Scouting in Kent provides boys and girls with skills for life and also aims to have a positive impact on our local community. I am proud of the way our young people have taken up this challenge.”
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