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Students to brave cold streets to fundraise for Christian homeless charity

Sat 10 Mar 2018
By Tola Mbakwe

Two university students in Glasgow will sleep on the streets next week to raise money for a Christian charity that helps homeless people get back onto their feet.

Stephanie Millar, 24, and Nicole Docherty, 21 will forsake the luxury of home comforts for to help CrossReach, the social care arm of the Church of Scotland.

The pair has initially set a target of £1,000 to support the Kirkhaven project in Dalmarnock area of Glasgow. It provides accommodation, support and social care for homeless men and for between three months and a year.

Miller and Docherty, who are currently on a 10-week placement at the re-settlement project, said they were struck by the fact that limitations in funding mean that staff have to raise money themselves to send service users on short respite breaks to a cottage near Pitlochry.

The University of the West of Scotland second year social work students decided that one night of rough sleeping in the city centre on 15th March would enable them to raise money and raise awareness of homelessness at the same time.

Millar said she and her friend had got to know people well at the 14-room facility over the last five weeks.

Church of Scotland
Stephanie Millar and Nicole Docherty

 

"The main thing they spoke to us about was this cottage in Pitlochry", she added.

"In the past they've had the cost funded by a third party but due to budget limitations this isn't available unless Kirkhaven provide their own funds."

Docherty said: "Going to the cottage seemed to be a highlight in their lives so we wanted to help them to go back there."

Their fundraising page states that "a short break away is something that we all take for granted, but for the service users this can have a positive impact on their overall wellbeing."

"For us, it's only one night, but for many it is the harsh reality of daily life".

The pair said they are very much aware that spending a night on the streets is a risk but they insist that they are taking a range of sensible precautions including personal alarms and emergency phone batteries.

Liz Leadbetter Kirkhaven’s manager said: "We are delighted that our social work students at Kirkhaven are using their initiative and research to raise funds to enable our service users to sample some life experiences that a lot of us take for granted."

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