Railway Children is urging the rail community to swap their warm beds to spend the night on a cold station floor to support their work with vulnerable children around the world.
The charity’s popular Sleepout event is back for 2024 after last year’s successful event raised over £170,000 and had 360 participants sleeping at stations across the UK.
This year, the Railway Children Sleepout will take place on Thursday, March 14th with 12 different locations confirmed, including Glasgow Central, Manchester Piccadilly, Derby, Leeds, Swansea, Birmingham New Street, London Waterloo, London Liverpool Street, London St Pancras and London Bridge.
Although the event does not replicate the hardship faced by so many children around the world, who are often deprived of shelter and safety at night, it does help to create awareness and raise crucial funds to support them.
Railway Children CEO, Rob Capener, said: “Our Sleepout always has a brilliant atmosphere and we’re hoping this year’s event will have a big impact with the help of our supporters and the rail community.
“Working closely with the British Transport Police, we know that hundreds of vulnerable young people are identified on the UK rail network every day. Many are running away from difficult situations at home, being groomed by abusers or exploited by county lines gangs. The challenges children and young people face are more prevalent than ever with increasing levels of poverty, exploitation, poor mental health and the lasting effects of the pandemic on their wellbeing and development.
“The Sleepout event is a great way to raise vital funds for our programmes that help us reach children in need of urgent support while increasing awareness of our work with thousands of people who use the transport system every day.”
Andrew Wilkins, Finance Director at VolkerRail, said: “VolkerRail has, for many years, been supporting Railway Children and the valuable work they do to make the lives of countless vulnerable young people much better. We are delighted to be able to continue our support by sponsoring and participating in the 2024 Sleepout.
“I have taken part in all the previous Sleepouts and whilst it is always a cold, uncomfortable and sometimes noisy experience with not much sleep, it is also a memorable and uplifting experience, shared with others. I am fortunate, as all participants are, that we can go home the next day back to our warm and comfortable houses. Each year as I’m travelling home, I think of all the young people who have also spent the previous night sleeping outside – alone, hungry, cold, uncomfortable and often in danger – and who will be doing the same that night. I think about how different their lives are, how fortunate we are and realise why we support Railway Children.”
To join the Sleepout, all you need to do is register, choose from one of the 12 venues across the UK and raise a minimum sponsorship of £100. The Railway Children team will be on hand at every station to answer questions and make sure everyone knows just what a positive difference they are making to vulnerable children in Tanzania, India and the UK. You can take part as an individual or get a team of colleagues and friends together and challenge yourself to give up your home comforts for one night – either way, you’ll have a roof over your head, warm food and drink, companionship and the knowledge that it’s all for a good cause.
The 2024 Sleepout is sponsored by VolkerRail and, with the support of Network Rail, it means any money raised by participants will go even further and change more children’s lives.
Capacity at each station is limited so visit The Railway Children Charity Sleepout | 2024 Event to find out more and register to take part now.
Image credit: Railway Children