Homeless young people from across Derbyshire are pushing a sofa around Queen’s Park in Chesterfield for 24 hours to raise awareness of their plight.
More than 30 teenagers and young adults, who have all been supported or accommodated by the SAFE consortium, will take part in the quirky challenge in time to mark World Homeless Day on Saturday.
The sofa push started at noon on Thursday with SAFE representatives, accompanied by mascots including Chester the Fieldmouse and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa, starting the task – CLICK ‘PLAY’ ON THE ABOVE VIDEO.
SAFE has been campaigning against plans by Derbyshire County Council to cut its funding.
Although some additional funding has been agreed, the service still faces an uncertain future – leading service users to dream up the awareness-raising charity challenge which will highlight youth homelessness and raise money to help support other young people.
Danniella Harper, who has been helped by SAFE, said: “We wanted to do this because we need to let the general public know that we are still here fighting for our services.
“We have been campaigning over the last year and had a great response but some of the comments have been about ‘young people not doing anything to help themselves’ so we wanted to show that we are still here trying to help ourselves by raising sponsorship money for the sofa push.
“We also wanted to be able to give something back to our community and have decided to
give half of the money raised to another charity.
“The other half will go to our activity fund to help people gain confidence to find work or education.”
Sue Wood, of SAFE, added: “We have been campaigning for the council to recognise the importance of this service for some time and I thank them for listening to what we and our service users have to say.
“But as things stand this service will still face a debilitating reduction in funding from April 2016 – meaning we will not be able to help young people in desperate need.
“That’s why our service users have been so determined to continue with this campaign.
“This sofa push, which was the entirely their idea, is a fantastic example of their determination to make their voices heard and I am really proud of everyone who has got involved.”
To sponsor the young people, visit here.
For more information about SAFE, visit here.