Schoolgirl To Sleep Rough For Homeless Charity St Basil's
Schoolgirl Rachel Claringbull is spending a night on the streets to raise awareness - and money - for a homeless charity, with just a cardboard box for shelter.
Claringbull, a 17-year-old student from Coventry, who has already raised nearly £500 for the St Basil's foundation which supports young people sleeping rough, will bed down for the night on a pavement in Digbeth, Birmingham, while insisting she "doesn't just do it for the sponsorship".
"I want to experience what it's really like. It's easy for me to wrap up warm, go along with some friends, be cold for a night and then return the next morning to my family and a warm house, but for thousands, thats not the case."
This will be the second time Claringbull has slept outside; last year she braved the extreme weather conditions and raised £750, all of which went to St Basil's.
"This year will probably be easier weather-wise", she told The Huffington Post, "but last year my group made a little shelter. This year it will be just the box, and won't be easy!"
"But", she adds, "It's not meant to be."
Claringbull says she has had lots of support which she "never really expects".
"It's an event which really engages people, especially with Christmas coming up as so many have to be alone during what should be a family time."
St Basil's, based in Birmingham, has 27 supported accommodation projects, which house 400 young people a night. The charity helps 4000 a year, either through their helpline, advice service Youth Hub and a school training and mentoring project - all aimed to combat youth homelessness.
Claringbull, whose father used to work for homeless charity Crisis, says she was brought up supporting the cause.
"I believe homelessness is not a problem people should just accept as another part of our society, because it doesn't need to be. Instead people need to stand up and tackle the problem and end it.
"Homelessness isn't just a problem for certain people", she continues. "It can happen to anyone. You lose your job, break up with a partner, lose connection with family... and soon you might find nothing else to rely on."
The teenager is also volunteering during her Christmas holidays with Crisis, to help support homeless people in London for nine days over the festive period.
To support Rachel, visit her sponsor page.