Tough volunteers sleep rough in Bradford
A team of frosty fundraisers from Bradford tackled temperatures of up to minus three degrees Celsius last week, as they experienced life on the streets at night.
As part of the InTouch Foundation’s ‘Sleeping Rough’ project, 20 brave individuals, armed only with their sleeping bags, set up camp in Islam Bradford from 7pm on Friday 15th January to 7am the following day.
With temperatures plummeting past zero, teams split up to build shelters with plastic sheets, collect firewood and even serve up a ‘luxury’ warm meal from the InTouch van.
Osman Gondal, founder and board member of the InTouch Foundation, was one of those who camped out last week.
Describing the temperature as ‘beyond cold’, he explained what members went through on the night.
“To just spend one night out on the streets really puts things into perspective for everyone that was involved with the project,” Osman said.
“It was one of the coldest nights of the year and we eventually started going to bed around 11pm but couldn’t sleep due to the weather, traffic and noise. It was so cold that I wrapped myself inside my sleeping bag with only my nose poking out.
“I woke up around 4am and couldn’t feel my nose or mouth. My sleeping bag even had a covering of ice over it.”
As well as taking their own warm clothes and sleeping gear, the group also benefited from the help of strangers in the community.
During the night, a car pulled up outside the group’s ‘temporary base’, with the driver handing out gloves and hats to those involved after seeing them earlier in the evening.
Osman added: “This guy made us realise that there are good people in the world and goes to show that people are willing to go out of their way to help others.
“We really appreciated this act of kindness and I would say to anyone who passes a homeless person to just think about that they are going through. Offering a cup of tea or a warm hat may seem little but it can make a huge difference.”
Around 66,000 people in the UK are forced to sleep rough every year. The InTouch Foundation volunteers hope to raise over £2,500 through the Sleeping Rough project.