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Grand Central staff swap home comforts for sleeping bags to raise money for Centrepoint

Grand Central staff are grabbing their sleeping bags and hot water bottles and heading out into the cold, cold night in aid of charity Centrepoint later this month.

Colleagues from Grand Central will be taking part in the charity’s sleepouts in Sunderland (15 November) and Bradford (22 November), joining companies such as Yorkshire Building Society, Nissan and Gordons Solicitors.

Centrepoint has been holding sleepovers for more than ten years, not to replicate homelessness but to provide an insight into the challenges faced by those sleeping rough. Grand Central Rail has been supporting the charity for three years, providing rail travel support, work experience and sponsorship to help give young homeless people a better future.

Says Grand Central’s chief operating officer Sean English about the experience last year, “Even just spending one night in the bitter November cold was a real eye-opening experience and, though nothing comes close to the real challenges faced, it really made me think about some of the hardships young homeless people encounter every single day.”

On 15 November in Sunderland the sleepout will take place at the Stadium of Light. Centrepoint Bradford, which supports more than 150 homeless young people every day, will be holding its event at the Northern Commercials Stadium on 22 November. Grand Central staff will be present at both events, sponsored by family, friends and colleagues and have already raised in excess of £1000 in sponsorship.

“We are hugely grateful for everything Grand Central Rail have done to support Centrepoint’s work over the course of our partnership so far,” says Di Gornall, Centrepoint’s director of fundraising, “From sleeping out in Bradford and Sunderland to helping our young people access opportunities across the country by providing train travel for them, your support has been and continues to be invaluable in delivering life-changing support and services to homeless 16-25-year-olds. Thank you to everyone at Grand Central Rail and I look forward to watching our partnership grow in the years to come.”

Grand Central is about to launch its new youth ambassadors scheme in Sunderland, which will work with vulnerable young people to provide work experience and mentoring opportunities.

“Homelessness, especially youth homelessness, is something that has been close to my heart for a good number of years,” English adds, “We really want to do more in raising awareness and supporting some very talented youngsters who just need a little bit of our help. We are working very closely with Centrepoint in developing a traineeship for a small number of young people and we can really make these type of initiatives happen from events like Sleepout.”

Notes to editors:

Grand Central Railway Company Limited is an established train operator which provides direct rail connections from towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East England with London.

Grand Central operates West Riding Services between Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Wakefield Kirkgate, Pontefract Monkhill, Doncaster and London King’s Cross. The rail operator also operates North East services between Sunderland, Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe, Northallerton, Thirsk, York and London King’s Cross.

Established in 2007, Grand Central celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017. Customer satisfaction levels are consistently high and the rail company has just been named Britain’s best value rail operator for the 5th year in a row.

Grand Central is part of the Arriva group, one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe. Arriva employs more than 60,000 people and delivers over 2 billion passenger journeys across 14 European countries each year.