Published by Sam Swyer on Thu, 6 Dec 2018 09:34
Sleep Out boxes

As the last of Storm Diana blew through on Friday night (November 30), a group of over 40 adults and children, some as young as four, spent the night in cardboard shelters in the playground at Ringwood Infant School. They have raised over £2,000 to support homeless people.

The group was taking part in the Church Urban Fund’s Advent Sleepout Challenge which for the past four years has raised funds to provide support, food, shelter and beds for people who would otherwise have nowhere to sleep. The Ringwood event was run by Ringwood Benefice partnering for a second time with Ringwood Infant School.

The school playground was filled with makeshift cardboard shelters, sleeping bags and tents. Hilary Silk, headteacher at Ringwood Infant School, said that the pupils had spent several weeks thinking about generosity: “We held the sleepout last year: the children who took part really demonstrated an understanding of what it meant. It has a really big impact on their life and us as a school community, so we wanted to do it again this year. We talk to the children about showing love in action – about doing something for somebody else. The children get a lot from the whole experience!”

The children were undaunted by the weather as heavy rain fell in the early hours. Scarlett joined the sleepout despite it being her seventh birthday: “I want to help those without a bed of their own”, while her mother said “This has been entirely driven by her, she has begged to be allowed to go and is dragging me along for the ride. I am so proud of her awareness and desire to help people less fortunate than she is”.

Organiser Paul Gray said: “Despite a disturbed and wet night’s sleep it was truly wonderful to see everyone cheerful and helping each other the following morning. We really got an insight into what it is like to spend a night on the streets. But we had the comfort of knowing that we were safe, with friends and could look forward to dry sheets on Saturday night”.

For further details about the Church Urban Fund’s advent Sleepout Challenge, visit

Sleep Out Boxes 2
Sleep Out fun1
Sleep Out fun2
Some of the participants 2018
Ringwood Infant School Team
Sleep time

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