Homelessness fundraiser sleeps rough on the streets of Northumberland village

A north Northumberland woman took to the streets as temperatures dipped close to freezing.

Thursday, 31st December 2020, 11:21 am

Shauna Bell, from Belford, was taking part in a campaign aimed at raising the awareness of youth homelessness in the UK.

She spent 24 hours as a homeless person, as part of a fund-raising exercise organised by Body Shop.

Shauna, who is a Body Shop consultant, spent the night sleeping under the stars in the doorway of the Community Shop in Belford.

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Shauna Bell slept out overnight in Belford to raise awareness and funds for a homelessness charity.

“It was an experience which had me anxious and excited beforehand,” said Shauna.

“During the night it was cold, wet and windy, and I think I only got about an hour’s sleep.

“But it was worth it to raise the awareness of the problem of youth homelessness in this country.

“This is 2020 and young people should not be living like this.”

When she set out on the project, Shauna only had a target of £200.

But after launching a Just Giving page on Facebook and with donations from locals she exceeded all her expectations.

In fact, she topped her target ten-fold, in total raising just over £2,000.

“I couldn’t believe how generous people were,” she said.

“I had lots of donations online and also in my bucket.

“People also kept checking in on me throughout the 24 hours. Some local businesses kept me going with food and cups of coffee, and other people were coming up and giving me sweets and even alcohol.”

So successful was Shauna’s fundraising efforts that she was listed at number one on Body Shop’s national top fundraisers during the campaign, which nationally helped raise over £200,000 for the charity.

“I never expected that at all,” she said.

“I only set out to raise £200, so to get £2,000 was unbelievable and I would just like to thank everyone who contributed.

“The idea was the raise awareness about youth homelessness, especially in a small community like Belford, where perhaps we are a little isolated from the problem, and from the response of everyone in the local community I think we managed to achieve that.”

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