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Youngsters sleep rough to support good cause
TEENAGERS taking part in the National Citizen Scheme at New College slept rough to raise money for stillbirth and neo-natal death charity, Swindon Sands.
The Smugglers, a team of 14 youngsters aged 16 and 17 who first met four weeks ago, were soaked to the skin on Thursday night when they slept in cardboard boxes beneath the trees in Lydiard Park.
Tiffany Cullern, from Park South, was one of the youngsters who took part.
She said: “After we got there at about 6pm and set it all up underneath a couple of trees it started pouring with rain.
“We ended up spending about £45 on Chinese takeaway and we just chilled together for the whole night. We did it because we wanted to see what it’s like to be homeless. Obviously we are more privileged and we had sleeping bags and things but it was interesting just to see how less fortunate people might cope.”
Laura Dowson, from West Swindon, said: “The first week on the NCS we camped but we didn’t know each other and it’s really nice to end with how we started.
“Swindon Sands is an amazing charity and a lot more people need to be aware of them and what they do.”
Their fundraising efforts over the past two weeks have seen them double their original target of £500, and on Thursday the group handed over £1,251.17 to the charity.
Laura Kirby-Deacon, fundraising co-ordinator at Swindon Sands, said: “Every pound always counts because we are trying to raise money for the bereavement suite at the hospital.
“A big thank you from us because it’s 10 per cent of what we need to build the suite so they have cut out a huge chunk to get us started.”
Last week the team packed bags at the Asda at the Orbital and the Co-Op in Cavendish Square. Both their sponsors, Asda and Tesco, provided the team with t-shirts and cardboard boxes to help with their charitable goals.
As a unit, the NCS group from New College have raised around £5,000 for local projects and charities much to the delight of project leader Lynn Wilkinson.
Lynn said: “Their determination to raise the money was fantastic. They were completely drenched but they still stuck at it. I’m blown away by it, the determination to stick it out is absolutely brilliant and it’s all going to support local charities too.”
NCS is a government initiative which aims to provide 16 and 17 year olds from a range of different backgrounds with valuable life experiences by building confidence, team-working skills and working on community projects.
In Swindon the initiative is led by both Swindon College and New College, which have received particular praise from the government, and participating students were able to meet the Prime Minister David Cameron.
The youngsters will celebrate their achievements at a special graduation ceremony in September.
To find out more about how you can get involved with the scheme call New College on 01793 611470 or Swindon College on 01793 491591.
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