Wiltshire Police Voluntary Cadets took part in a sleep out challenge to raise awareness and money for those who will be spending this winter without a place to call home.

Forty cadets aged 13-17 from the Swindon, Chippenham, Trowbridge and Salisbury units took part in the sleep out on Friday 15 December at Police Headquarters, Devizes which has pledged £4009.40 for homeless charities in Wiltshire.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon (PCC) Angus Macpherson joined the cadets to spend the night sleeping outside. Mr Macpherson volunteers with the Filling Station charity in Swindon which offers a weekly soup kitchen service to over 50 people who are homeless or in a cycle of homelessness. The Filling Station is supported by Threshold who provides an outreach service and offer support to those who are experiencing homelessness.

Mr Macpherson said: “I was pleased to join the cadets on this annual sleep out to raise money and awareness for homeless charities and I am delighted at the amount of money that has been raised for the charity.

“The sleep out is a good opportunity for the cadets to experience what it is like to be homeless, but unlike many homeless young people this was something we only had to experience once before heading home to the warm.

“Opportunities like this are a great learning experience for our cadets. It helps them to understand others in our society and the challenges they may face.”

Threshold, The Doorway Project, The Breakthrough Trust and Homes Not Streets charities have been selected to benefit from the pledged money raised.

Wiltshire Police Youth lead, Sergeant Steve McGlynn said: “I am very proud of the cadets for completing this challenge. It wasn’t an enjoyable experience. It was cold and not many of them got much sleep.”

“It was important for us to do something for others and doing the sleep out has improved their awareness and knowledge about homelessness.

“It has taught them not to judge people because of the situation they find themselves in, a valuable skill to have both as a young person and an adult.

“This is the third annual sleep out for the Cadets. In total we will have pledged £10439.68 to homeless charities in Wiltshire, something all of our Cadets can feel very proud of.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dave Ibbott, David Owen and Alania Coles who volunteered their time to drive the Cadets to and from Devizes Police Headquarters and also to Matt Murray, Andy Milton, Steve Thorpe, Gareth Milnes and Gemma Lishman who volunteered their time during the night to the welfare of the cadets. Without all of their support, such an event would not be able to take place.”