Staff spend the night sleeping on school roof in Barking for charity

Gascoigne primary school rooftop sleep out to raise money for homelessness charity

Gascoigne primary school rooftop sleep out to raise money for homelessness charity - Credit: Archant

A hardy group of school staff have raised over £1,400 by braving freezing February weather overnight.

Sixteen teachers and support staff from Gascoigne Primary spent Friday night camped out on the school’s new rooftop playground.

Kelly McKinnon, a family liaison practitioner at the school, came up with the stunt as a way to raise awareness of the hardships that homeless people face when sleeping on the streets, as well as money for charity Hope 4 Barking and Dagenham. Organiser Kelly said that the volunteers kept upbeat despite Friday’s grim weather: “We started laying down our cardboard in the rain about 6:30pm and spirits were quite high amongst the group.

“Councillor Evelyn Carpenter came down to offer support as we were setting up and made a donation which was really kind.”

By 9pm, some staff members had hunkered down for the night, but others played games on the rooftop park until 2am as a way to keep warm in the winter chill.

Kelly said: “ Everyone who slept out found the experience totally humbling and thought provoking and we even managed to have a little laugh along the way.

“It gave us all a very small insight into the hardship that homeless people have to endure on a daily basis.”

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The final fundraising total has not yet been counted, but a collection on the school gates has already yielded £900, and a single member of staff, Marie Attard, raised £500 in sponsorship money.

Kelly said everyone at the Gascoigne Road school was “overwhelmed by the support and generosity shown by the parents” who had donated, many of whom have asked if the fundraiser will be repeated next year.