St Ambrose College sixth formers felt the bitter blast of homelessness when the night they spent sleeping on the streets coincided with second coming of the Beast from the East.
Eleven hardy young men and three staff slept rough outside the College in temperatures with a wind chill of minus 10 degrees over Friday night into Saturday morning as a climax to the Hale Barns school’s Advocacy Week.
The experience left the young men vowing to volunteer more in Manchester’s streets and refuge centres but never to repeat their night outside.
Marcus Doohan, 17, from Altrincham, who wants to study Medicine, said: “I am never doing that again. I was still aching 36 hours later and didn’t feel I had recovered fully. I just can’t see how so many people do that night after night after night. It must have a dramatic effect on their life expectancy.”
Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award winner and senior venture scout Troy Wood, 16, from Timperley said: “Even though we had several layers and quality kit, it certainly made an impact on us all both physically and emotionally.”
The sleep out was the brainchild of the students in the college’s Edmund Rice International Group, named after the founder of the Christian Brothers, to promote charitable causes both at home and overseas.
Vice Principal Dermot Rainey, who was one of the staff sleeping out, said: “This is the start and not the end of our campaign. During the week we sent a mini bus full of food and clothing to local food banks and we are still receiving items for a second.
“Then after attending a range of workshops our first year groups will extend their advocacy work to environmental issues such as the use of plastic, as well as the issues of homelessness and the increasing dependence on food banks.”