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2 December 2011, 12:00
Hundreds of people in St Albans will brave the cold tonight as they sleep rough to raise money for homeless charities.
Sleepout has been running for 17 years and the annual event at St Albans Cathedral has so far managed to raise more than £300,000.
People of all ages spend a sponsored night out under the stars to help highlight some of the issues homeless people face.
This year's seven charities are: Centre 33, St Albans; DENS, Hemel Hempstead; Leighton Linslade Homeless Service; LAMP, Luton; Open Door, St Albans; Stevenage Haven, and Watford New Hope Trust.
Jenny Mass, the Marketing and Fundraising Manager for DENS told us why the experience is so important ''They can perhaps help to understand a little bit more what people are dealing with if they are homeless and hopefully through that they'll want to support us and obviously be a bit more mindful of those that they meet that might be homeless.
''I think it's a really good insight for people as to what it might be like to be homeless and also it sort of helps people to experience it and then understand why it's so important to support charities like ours.''
Here are some comments from sleepers last year....
''For me spending even just one night outside, being wet, cold, uncomfortable, was a useful reminder of just how lucky we are to have basic things in life such as warm food, warmth and shelter. It also illustrated to me the importance of helping those who are not so fortunate.''
''It was very rewarding to support the amazing work done by DENS and an important personal experience to understand and live part of the life of a homeless person.''
To donate to DENS go to www.justgiving.com/dens