Scores bed down at Sunderland stadium for homeless charity

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Sunderland fans and celebrities swapped their beds for sleeping bags to raise funds for a homeless charity.

Geordie Shore star, Vicky Pattison, and Apprentice star and Sunderland fitness entrepreneur, Katie Bulmer-Cooke, joined dozens of other people who bedded down at The Stadium of Light, as part of Centrepoint’s Sleep Out project.

Vicky Pattison (left) and Katie Bulmer-Cooke at the Sleep Out.

Vicky Pattison (left) and Katie Bulmer-Cooke at the Sleep Out.

The event was to raise funds for the youth homeless charity, as well at the SAFC charity Foundation of Light. Sleep Out is taking place in 14 cities across the UK.

Katie said this was the first time she had tackled the Sleep Out, but was well prepared with plenty of warm clothes.

She said: “Homelessness is not just about sleeping on the streets. Since becoming involved with Centrepoint I’ve found that lots of people just move from place to place. It must be terrible not to have a place to call your own home, where you are warm and safe.”

Vicky, said her desire to get involved with the charity was after reading the book, A Street Cat Named Bob, which is about the life of a man on the streets, and his pet.

Centrepoint workers settle down for the Sleep Out at the Stadium of Light.

Centrepoint workers settle down for the Sleep Out at the Stadium of Light.

She said: “It just changed the way I looked at things and made me realise people are homeless for so many different reasons.

“This is the first time I have been involved with Centrepoint, but I hope it won’t be the last.”

Vicky, who is a former winner of TV show I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! said the main difference between the two challenges would be the temperature.

Centrepoint works with more than 200 homeless young people every day in the North East, providing accommodation and support to help young people to turn their lives around by gaining essential life skills, tackling their physical and mental health issues and moving into education or employment.

Kyle Walker supporting the Sleep Out.

Kyle Walker supporting the Sleep Out.

The Foundation of Light works in some of the most deprived wards in the UK throughout the North East, challenging the effects and causes of poverty.

Young people rough sleeping is a significant problem in the UK. In 2016, 55% of homeless young people said they had slept rough at some point.

Joining the Sleep Out was Sunderland-born, Kyle Walker, 23, who became homeless at the age of 13 after family relationships broke down.#

The former Hetton School pupil, said at 16 he found Centrepoint, and credits the charity for helping to turn his life around.

Kyle, who is planning to train to be a mental health nurse, said: “If it hadn’t been for them, I would probably be dead now.”

Centrepoint’s Amy Appleton said: “Sleep Out is a thought-provoking challenge that everyone should try. It would be impossible to replicate the true terror of spending a night on the streets with nowhere else to go, but you feel the cold and experience the discomfort which homeless young people have had to endure.”

Jemma Garrett, Foundation of Light events coordinator, said: “This is the fourth year that we’ve hosted Sleep Out and it’s a wonderful event to be part of.”