Hundreds sleep out in freezing temperatures to raise money for homelessness charity

As temperatures across the Midlands plummeted to freezing, hundreds of people opted to sleep out in the cold in Birmingham to raise money for a homelessness charity.

The Big Sleepout, which raises funds for St Basils, took place at Millennium Point.

Those taking part are sponsored to sleep rough. They are offered some hot food and drinks and cardboard for shelter.

Organisers say it gives people taking part a chance to see and feel firsthand what it's like to be homeless.

"People essentially get a bit of a glimpse of what it's like to rough sleep", says Barrie Hodge who works for the charity.

"Now we're not attempting to recreate that. We couldn't recreate that. It's not possible to recreate the horrors and what that's about, but essentially people will get an idea of what it's like to sleep in the cold, on the hard grounds and how disruptive that is to someone's life."

"And people will realise very quickly that when people do that, it's certainly not a choice", adds Barrie.

This is the 25th time Zane Rizvi has taken part in the event to raise money for St Basils and he says he's inspired by the work that the charity does.

"It's more than just putting a roof over young people's heads. It's the psychological support, it's the mentoring, it's the guidance, it's helping them turn around their lives.

"I was lucky enough to spend the day with it a few weeks ago just to see what they were doing. First time in some of their projects and outreach team.

"It's incredible. It's an equal mix of really depressing and so inspiring at the same time. And hey, that's enough motivation for the next 25 years", adds Zane.

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