Youngsters swap home comfort for a car park

Worcester News: TEMPORARY HOME: The cardboard slum outside St Peter’s Baptist Church. TEMPORARY HOME: The cardboard slum outside St Peter’s Baptist Church.

THE chance to swap creature comforts for three days sleeping in a cardboard box slum during a wet November may not appeal to most.

However, 23 young people from Worcester took up the challenge and left behind their pillows, pyjamas, make up and mobile phones to spend part of their half term living on St Peter’s Baptist Church car park.

The 11 to 17-year-olds spent from Wednesday until Friday in the slum they had created out of pallets, cardboard boxes and tarpaulin, raising about £2,000 for Soul Action.

They were only allowed to the front door of the church in Eden Close, St Peters, to receive their bowls of rice and had to walk about a quarter of a mile to get fresh water.

The group, who were from youth groups Xplode, Xchange and Youth House based at the church, were also denied showers, a change of clothing and electrical items.

To keep their spirits up during the three days of cold, rainy weather, musicians performed for the young people and family and friends came to support them.

Youth intern Amy Wearing said: “At first it seemed like good fun but over the three days it hit home that this was a way of life for some children.

“The group coped really well and I think they recognised how privileged they were and it gave them a better insight into how other people lived.”

During the three days the group visited Worcester Foodbank and also worked with Worcester City Council to fit bird boxes around the area.

They had spent six weeks prior to the challenge looking at social action and how they could make a difference locally and nationally.

Mrs Wearing added: “Hopefully the challenge will have a really long lasting impact on them.”

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