Homeless young people to push sofa in 24-hour fundraising relay

06 Oct 2015
by Victoria Harrison

Homeless young people from across Derbyshire are planning to give back to the service that has supported them – by pushing a sofa around a Chesterfield park for 24 hours.

 More than 30 enterprising teenagers and young adults, who have all been supported or accommodated by the SAFE consortium, will take part in this unusual challenge from 12noon on Thursday, October 8 – in time to mark World Homeless Day on October 10.

 Supported by staff, volunteers and members of the Rapid Relief Team organisation, they plan to push a specially adapted “surfing sofa”* around the edges of Queen’s Park in a continuous relay. Their goal is to raise awareness of youth homelessness and raise money to help support other young people.

 SAFE, a Framework-led consortium completed by the Stonham and Adullum organisations, has been campaigning against plans by Derbyshire County Council to cut the funding available to it. Although some additional funding has since been agreed**, the service still faces an uncertain future – leading service users to dream up this latest awareness raising initiative.

 Danniella Harper, who has been helped by SAFE and now live in Swadlingcote explained: “We wanted to do this because we need to let the general public know that we are still here fighting for our services. We have been campaigning over the last year and had a great response but some of the comments we have received have been about ‘young people not doing anything to help themselves’, so we wanted to show that we are still here trying to help ourselves by raising sponsorship money for the sofa push.

 We also wanted to be able to give something back to our community and have decided to give half of the money raised to another charity. The other half will go to our activity fund to help people gain confidence to find work or education.

 Sue Wood, SAFE Consortia Lead, added:

We have been campaigning for the council to recognise the importance of this service for some time and I thank them for listening to what we and our service users have to say. But as things stand this service will still face a debilitating reduction in funding from April 2016 – meaning we will not be able to help young people in desperate need. That’s why our service users have been so determined to continue with this campaign.

This sofa push, which was the entirely their idea, is a fantastic example of their determination to make their voices heard and I am really proud of everyone who has got involved. I would like to urge anyone who is interested to come along, see what we’re doing for themselves, and lend their support to this initiative.

 To sponsor the young people taking part please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/SafeDerbys Full details and resources to help supporters of the SAFE campaign are available at www.frameworkha.org/theirfuture


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