Broadgate fresher to become homeless for a week to raise money for charity

He’ll be without a phone or money

A Maths fresher will be spending a week sleeping rough without a phone or money to raise money for a homeless charity .

Thomas Fry will swap his usual residence of Broadgate Park for the cold and harsh streets of Nottingham to raise awareness of homelessness in the city, after the proportion of rough sleepers doubled in the last year.

The 18-year-old is set to document and film the project as well as collecting money for Framework, a homelessness charity based in Nottinghamshire. All money raised will be given to the charity, however the first year won’t say no to offers of food and drink and is happy to chat to passers by.

Speaking to The Tab, Thomas said: “I’m trying to take away my luxuries and live the life of sleeping rough for a week. I’m in contact with someone from New York, Yusef, who did it successfully for many charities and as a personal experience. In my home town of Hull the homeless problem was constantly mentioned, yet coming to bigger cities like London and Nottingham I felt it’s almost accepted as just a thing that some people have to endure, despite the fact that the amount of homeless rough sleepers is far greater in these bigger cities than where I’m from.

“I wanted to help, but not work directly with the charity, just donate to them with an insightful personal project that also helped me in understanding what it’s like. When I found Yusef’s website, it felt like the right thing to do. Giving some money to charity would have been doing something good but it wasn’t right for me. Then when I considered it everything just fell into place so well and Yusef was happy to help.

“I plan to leave my flat in the evening and spend a night somewhere away from people. Then I’ll be on the streets promoting the project and fundraising during the day in the city centre, then spending my nights sleeping rough in an area where Framework can check up on me. My exact plans will be changing depending on how things go, but I will be staying in Nottingham.

“A few donations have come in and now a lot of people are wanting to find out more. It was too good to be true how easy it was to go from considering it, to having most details planned and getting the word out.”

The week of sleeping on the streets will start on the 18th March, the day that term finishes. While Thomas won’t have to worry about waking up for any 9am lectures, there is a high level of risk involved and the charity, as well as his family, are concerned for his safety.

Thomas said: “I’m definitely feeling scared. The charity have been concerned, at times even talking about refusing the donations because they don’t want to promote this as a good idea, which I really don’t mean to either. I’m looking into working with the charity so they can give me an actual feel of the reality of Nottingham’s rough sleepers, by going with them on their outreach programs.

“This may make me more scared, more sure that I can brave it for a week, more sure that these are the people I have to make an impact to raise money for. I may even feel regret and cold feet about the whole thing but I really hope that me and the charity can find solid ground to have a realistic but safe experience and to make a change even at the loss of my wellbeing.

“My family have been worried mainly, its not something I’ve ever done before. Research can’t tell you what actually living it can, and they’re allowing it as much as possible, while still being on the edge of their seats hoping that I make all necessary safe actions and maybe even decide against it.

“I hope that my parents and the charity could see it how I see it and how donators see it, but they have their reputation and their worries are right so I can’t complain, I can just thank them for how much they’ve been able to put my decisions over their concerns.

A spokesman from the charity said: “Rough sleeping is dangerous and potentially life-threatening. So, whilst we applaud Thomas’s motives, we would not advise him or anyone else to voluntarily expose themselves to this kind of risk. We cannot endorse this proposal but thank him for his interest in our work and the people we exist to support.”

To donate to this great cause please visit Thomas’ JustGiving page.