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‘The Big Sleep Out' Comes to Black Country Living Museum

Museum at Twilight

15 November 2012

250 local 15 to 17 years olds are expected to take part in a mass sleep out on
Saturday 17th November at Black Country Living Museum. They will join
forces with other young people across 20 areas of the country as part of a
national event entitled ‘The Big Sleep Out’. A total of 3,000 young people are
expected to participate across the country.

Black Country Living Museum in Dudley will provide a unique back-drop for
the young people who will be sleeping ‘rough’ in alleyways, in shop doorways
and on street corners. The Museum’s 1900s village will create an atmospheric
and magical location, as participants sleep out on the cobbled street, under
stars and gas light.

The event is being organised to launch ‘The Challenge Society’, a year-round
programme that engages young people in community action and signposts
them towards personal development opportunities.

The young people taking part are graduates of The Challenge, a youth and
community programme that seeks to connect and inspire people to strengthen
their communities. The Challenge is part of the government’s flagship
scheme, National Citizen Service (NCS). This year up to 30,000 16 and 17
year olds are expected to complete NCS, a third of those through The
Challenge programme. ‘The Big Sleep Out’ is open to NCS graduates and
their friends.

The aim of the event is to help young people understand and empathise with
the difficulties countless homeless people face on a daily basis and the
increase in demand at local food banks. Many graduates have already visited
organisations that support the homeless and individuals in food crisis
(including Wolverhampton Food Bank and The Brothers of the Good
Shepherd) as part of The Challenge programme, to gain an insight into their
work and interact with some of their service users.

The Challenge would particularly like to thank Boxes and Packaging for their
kind donation of cardboard for the event and Black Country Living Museum for
all their help and support in providing an incredible venue.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for thousands of young people to continue to
make a real difference to their local communities and to make an impact on
an issue that they feel strongly about. We are really grateful for the support of
the local food banks that we will be partnering with." Craig Morley, CEO, The
Challenge Network

Jon Drew, Learning Programmer, Black Country Living Museum said: “Black
Country Living Museum is pleased to play host to this year’s ‘Big Sleep Out’.
Food poverty and homelessness are issues faced by people in the region and
the Museum is delighted to work alongside The Challenge Network to raise
awareness of this. Learning is not always about the three R’s – reading,
writing and arithmetic and we often learn our most valuable lessons when we
‘live’ someone else’s life - even temporarily. When we walk in someone else’s
shoes we always discover another perspective and sometimes a solution.”

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