DS Smith Recycling and Packaging work together to support Centrepoint Sleep Out

In November 2017, DS Smith’s Packaging and Recycling Divisions in the UK joined forces to support the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint with a mass Sleep Out in London.

1,000 participants bedded down for the night in sleeping bags on corrugated board, raising money for the charity and simultaneously raising awareness of the problem of youth homelessness. In London, the number of young people rough sleeping has more than doubled in the last six years. Since it began, the Sleep Out events have raised more than £2.5 million to support young people facing homelessness.

Founded in 1969, Centrepoint is the UK’s leading charity for homeless young people, supporting 9,000 people aged between 16 and 25 every year. The charity’s work is about more than just providing a safe bed for the night; Centrepoint helps young people to turn their lives around by gaining essential life skills, tackling their physical and mental health issues, and moving into education or employment.

 DS Smith Packaging’s plant in Devizes provided 1,500 sheets of corrugator off-cuts, measuring just 1.8m x 1m, for participants to sleep on at the event. The Recycling Division’s West London facility collected the cardboard sheets the following day, to be recycled at DS Smith’s paper mill in Kemsley.

Richard Utting, Head of Philanthropy and Events at Centrepoint, said: “We’re so grateful to DS Smith for their support. Everyone who gave up their beds for Sleep Out experienced cold and discomfort – just a small part of what too many young people go through. It’s a scandal that in the 21st century there are still young people left with no option but to sleep rough. The money raised will help give vulnerable young people a safe place to stay with Centrepoint and the support they need to turn their lives around in 2018.”

The event at Greenwich is the largest of 14 Sleep Out events taking place across the country – from Aberdeen to the Eden Project – throughout October and November. Money raised by the events will go to support the work of local youth homelessness charities, all members of the End Youth Homelessness movement. This will be the 13th year that the Centrepoint London Sleep Out has been staged.

“When it comes to youth homelessness, the numbers are shocking – it’s a cause our team felt strongly about and we were happy to be able to help in this small way,” said Steve Hinton, Managing Director at DS Smith’s Devizes site. “Sleeping on corrugated board isn’t comfortable, but goes some way to replicating the experience that so many young people face on streets around the UK every night.”