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UCLan social work students sleep rough for charity

29 January 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

Group brave winter conditions to raise awareness and funds

Social work students and a senior lecturer from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have raised over £600 for a homeless charity after they braved a night in the snow to experience the harsh realities of living on the streets.

UCLan senior social work lecturer Amanda Taylor was joined by ten of her students to take part in the Street Sleep Out, run by the Brick Homeless Project in Wigan, to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless and generate cash for the project’s work. 

The team joined around 70 other people on Friday 25 January when snow blizzards hit the region to spend eight hours outside huddled under cardboard boxes.

"Not only did it help them to experience what it might be like for people who find themselves homeless but it also provided a learning experience from a totally different perspective than that of the tradition lecture space."

Amanda commented: “I am incredibly proud of the social work students who took part in this very challenging but worthwhile event.  Not only did it help them to experience what it might be like for people who find themselves homeless but it also provided a learning experience from a totally different perspective than that of the tradition lecture space.  It also acted as a great bonding activity for all of the students involved.”

First year social work student Melissa Emmerson said: “I wanted to understand what it was like to walk in another person’s shoes.  I found comfort knowing we were all in it together, taking time out from our busy lives to try and make difference.”

Fellow first year student Lorna Ferguson said: “At times I felt like giving up but knowing that some people have no choice but to brave such conditions day in day out spurred me on to continue to the end.  It was one of the hardest yet most rewarding experiences in terms of learning and professional development and I have taken a lot away from it.”

Jodie Barwise, a UCLan MA social work student, added: “My previous experiences on placement for a small, not for profit organisation have made me aware of how a lack of reliable funding can cause many issues.  I gained an insight into what it is to be homeless and have no other options and of the valuable work the Brick Homeless Project does.  The experience brought the people we work with to the front of my mind.”

The Brick Homeless Project opened in Wigan in 2008 and provides support to people who have had a direct experience of homelessness or related problems.