Church youngsters try rough sleeping
Life on the streets simulation test for group
It might sound like the world’s worst sleepover – but a group of youngsters at Rutherglen United Reformed Church recently shunned home comforts to simulate life on the streets.
The seven-strong group were taking part in an exercise at the church that saw them spend a night homeless.
They were faced with having hardly any food and having their shelters disrupted as the night went on.
The idea was the brainchild of Kim Hansen, who stays in Fernhill and is currently doing a course on Developing Community Experience.
Part of the course was developing a project that would help raise awareness of homelessness with several of the church’s younger members, all of whom were between S1 and S3.
Kim said: “The whole simulation lasted from 6pm until 8am and it worked very well.
“We wanted to make sure they experienced what being homeless would be like.
“One of the first things they did was build themselves shelters to sleep in outside, and when they went into the church to get their food parcels their belongings and shelters were moved about and taken apart, so they had to rebuild them.
“They were each given food parcels to get through the whole night and it was up to them to decide when to eat it and how to spread it out.
“It was all things like a plain ham sandwich and some crisps, all very straightforward food.
“Some of them were trying to swap with others to get something they liked more, but they were all very good and spread the food out to last them overnight.
“But while they were getting that, the leaders were sitting there eating fish and chips just a few feet away.
“It was a reminder that if they were actually homeless they would have to make do with whatever they could get, while there could be nice restaurants next to them.”
Kim was full of praise for how the group coped with the night.
She said: “They responded really well and I was really impressed with that.
“They were really keen to learn and several came back and said they had learned a lot.
“It re-enforced that it’s not always about doing anything huge, it’s just about acknowledging that people are in that position and doing what you can to help them, from saying hello to putting together hygiene packs, which was something that we did.”
A total of 30 hygiene packs were made up on the night and contained items such as soap, plasters, socks and deodorant. They were then given to the Lodging House Mission.
Rough stuffTeens learned what it was like to live on the streets