Gosport youth group battle elements to learn about living rough

ON THE STREETS  Kevin Morgan, James Carre, Mercedes Harris, Josh Giles and Sophie Newman
ON THE STREETS Kevin Morgan, James Carre, Mercedes Harris, Josh Giles and Sophie Newman
Cheltenham Road. Picture: Google Maps

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YOUNGSTERS spent a night sleeping rough to learn what life is like for homeless people.

The members of Loud and Proud, a Gosport-based charity that aims to change the perception of young people, made shelters from cardboard to brave the chilly night.

All 15 stayed in the gardens of the Nimrod Community Centre in Nimrod Drive, Rowner, Gosport.

Stuart Lovibond, 18, works for Loud and Proud and was one of the youngsters staying.

He said: ‘We weren’t allowed any phones, mp3 players, tablets or anything of that kind.

‘We did have a few rule-breakers who brought in torches, a pack of cards and camping mats.

‘But we were only allowed the bare essentials, as if we were actually homeless.

‘We did come across some real life situations that we would have come across if we were actually homeless.

‘One of the shelters was flooded and we had to split one of teams into the other two teams’ shelters. They had to make good with the materials from the other shelter.’

Any rule-breakers on the night were given sanctions and made to run around the car park.

Nicola Ure, co-ordinator of Loud and Proud, said: ‘We thought it would be a good thing to raise awareness of people who are homeless, mainly young people.

‘And also we did it as a sponsorship and raised money.

‘It was all about teamwork and they were also given the opportunity to show kindnesses to other people.

‘If one of the group didn’t have enough cardboard to make a shelter, others could offer it to them.

‘I was quite surprised they survived the night without their mobiles but they did brilliantly with that.’

The cash raised on the night was given to The ARC, in Forton Road, Gosport, run by homeless group Two Saints.

A series of challenges saw the youngsters work to earn basic food and drink, such as cups of tea and baked beans.

The youth group, overseen by Gosport Voluntary Action, is for people aged from 16 to 25 and also covers Fareham.

Kevin Morgan, 24, of Uplands Crescent, in Fareham, said he enjoyed the night, held on Saturday, May 11.

He said: ‘Doing the challenges was quite good, trying to build the shelters together.

‘I don’t think anyone really slept in the shelters.’