Geordie Shore stars and Sunderland AFC players among dozens taking part in Centrepoint Sleepout at Stadium of Light

Sunderland AFC's Alim Ozturk (L) and Robin Ruiter, Geordie Shore Abbie Holborn and Nathan Henry with Centrepoints Zinnia Young
Sunderland AFC's Alim Ozturk (L) and Robin Ruiter, Geordie Shore Abbie Holborn and Nathan Henry with Centrepoints Zinnia Young

Dozens of people, including reality TV stars and Sunderland AFC first team players, are braving the cold to raise cash for a homeless charity at the Stadium of Light tonight.

Around 80 people are bedding down in the Stadium concourse as part of Centrepoint's annual sponsored sleep-out.

Arriving for tonight's Centrepoint Sleepout

Arriving for tonight's Centrepoint Sleepout

Among those taking part are Nathan Henry and Abbie Holborn and first teamers Alim Ozturk and Robin Ruiter.

Paul Goad, MD of Seaham watercooler supplier Seaton Spring, is doing the Sleepout for a second year.

Last year Paul’s supporters donated more than £1,200. He set himself an initial target of £500 this year but had already passed last year's figure with a fortnight to go.

"It’s a cause close to my own heart," he said.

Fund-raisers bed down for the night

Fund-raisers bed down for the night

"In the early 2000’s I had a few months of ‘no fixed abode’. I came through it but I fully appreciate how frightening and overwhelming that situation would be for a young person."

Donna Dobson, owner of The Fox & Field store, in Barnard Castle said: "This is my first year for what I hope will be an annual event sleeping out for Centrepoint.

"I previously ran a warm coat appeal for our local homeless community which extended to the Darlington area where we collected over 200 coats.

"This year I am running a warm pack appeal which involves collecting hats, scarves, jumpers, hot water bottles etc. Customers drop them off at the shop and then they will be distributed via Storehouse (the local food bank ) and King Church in Darlington distribute them to the homeless.

"I find it really frustrating when I see and hear about people struggling on the streets and just want to be able to help out.

"I also feel that it is very important to help Centrepoint raise awareness as well as funds in our area as I do feel that some people are unaware as to just how many people are struggling on the streets and with living in rural areas it is not so obvious."

Homeless young people, aged 16-25, stay with Centrepoint for up to two years, but the charity keeps supporting them for another six months to make sure they can live independently.

Centrepoint provides young people with accommodation, health support and life skills to get them back into education, training and employment.

To donate, click here.