Members of the male and female Met Police Rugby Club slept out overnight at their home ground in Esher on Friday 19 April to raise money for youth homelessness charity Depaul UK. They followed the sleep out with a 16-mile weighted walk to Depaul UK’s London Bridge headquarters.

The rugby team, who raised almost £1,500 for the charity, had just their roll mats and sleeping bags to brave the night, as temperatures dropped to single figures. They left their Esher stadium at 7am on Saturday morning for the long hike to central London, carrying ‘weighted’ rucksacks on their back as a gesture of solidarity for young people who are forced to flee their homes and walk the streets with just their belongings.

Male rugby captain, Cormac Healy, said: “We all work in London, and we all see how many young people are struggling and living on the streets. As a team we really wanted to do something to make a difference. We wanted to give something back to the community around us.

“It was a tough, cold night, and the walk was particularly difficult after very little sleep, but we wanted to challenge ourselves and also get a little bit of an understanding of what’s it like to sleep rough and then carry your belongings all-day long. At the end we were all exhausted with sore feet, but really proud of what we’d achieved.”

Sam Dunne, Head of Corporate and Regional Engagement at Depaul UK said: “We are delighted that the Met Rugby Club wanted to take on such an incredibly tough challenge to raise awareness of the growing number of young people who are facing homelessness.

“As police officers they know too well the dangers of sleeping on the street, and how vital it is to get young people into safe accommodation, with the right support, so that they can fulfil their potential and contribute positively to their community.

“Cormac and his team have demonstrated their commitment to ending youth homelessness with great enthusiasm and determination. We are thrilled they chose to support Depaul UK.”

The Met Rugby team will continue to raise money for the charity at a fundraising gala in June. Funds raised will help support emergency and supported accommodation, mental health services, as well as education, training, and employment opportunities for young people at risk of homelessness.

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