On Friday 17th November we hosted a Salesian Sleepover here in school for students across years 7 & 8. This event coincided with World Day of the Poor and so the focus of the sleepover was around homelessness. 50 of our students took part and were provided with an immersive experience. We know that this does not compare to sleeping outside on the streets, but we wanted to help our young people to understand how difficult it might be when you don’t have a place to go. As a result of this, students slept in the teaching school on the floor, they brought their sleeping bags and pillows into school and used cardboard boxes to build themselves dens to sleep in. Miss Forster had lots of fun, helping students to decorate their boxes, and hosted a competition to see who could build the best dens. We asked all students involved to make a donation which will be given to the Whitechapel Centre who play an important role in the life of the city by helping those living without a home or living in poverty. So far donations made have raised £245!
We warmly welcomed two volunteers from the Whitechapel Centre, who spoke to the group about the work of the charity. They educated students about homelessness and shared moving stories about the people that they have supported. They also informed the students that all money raised from their donations would contribute to purchasing 900 Christmas presents for people who are homeless this year.
“I found the talk from the Whitechapel really interesting, especially hearing stories about why people find themselves homeless. I loved making the dens, it was a fun experience with my friends!” Harriet in year 8
We opened a soup kitchen, where students were provided with soup, rolls and sandwiches for their supper and a tuck shop too. Miss Brittles, a business studies teacher here in school, asked students to get into groups and provided them with a small amount of fake money and a scenario explaining how they had made their money that day whilst living on the streets. The groups had to budget to purchase items from the tuck shop. This enabled students to gain an understanding of what life might be like for people living on the streets. They were happy when they realised that they could purchase treats to eat whilst watching a movie.
Later on in the evening, we read in the dark with torches. Miss Kinsella our LRC manager chose to read some poems from ‘Dear Rebel: 125+ women share their secrets to taking on the world’.
We ended our evening with a Salesian Goodnight, which was led by Anne our College Chaplain. She told the students the story of the three sieves. Reminding them to think before telling a story or passing on a rumour, to ask themselves whether it is true, kind or necessary.
“The sleepover was really good, I enjoyed watching the movie with treats and having the chance to sleep in school” Neavaeh in year 7
Mrs Tomkins, Head of RE and Catholic life organised the event and said that “The sleepover was a wonderful opportunity for our students to put their faith into action. As a Catholic College, everything we do is rooted in Gospel Values and Catholic teachings. We are called to serve the poorest within our community and to Love our Neighbour.”