SCHOOL pupils who carried out a long term project on homelessness have spoken of the impact on them of their research.

Children at Langley Park Primary School, near Durham, looked at what drives people to sleep on the streets as well as the more common problem of the ‘hidden homeless’, those without a permanent address.

The Northern Echo:

Youngsters wrote to MPs in the area as well as The Northern Echo as part of their campaign to raise awareness of the issue.

Eleven-year-old Olivia Crighton, who is from Langley Park, said: “It has given us the opportunity to find out things other than what we learn about in school.

“So many people live on the streets, or do not have a permanent home to live in.

“We go home to our hot baths and a shower and they don’t have that.

“It has been a struggle, as a class, to think about how they feel and how it affects them.

“We have all been really interested in it. There was always something new and it was like learning about another subject.”

The project has been carried out by almost 30 year six pupils over the last few months.

They have given a special assembly to the whole school and raised more than £220 for the Moving On charity by organising a non-uniform day and selling crafts at a summer festival.

Regan Redpath, also 11, and from Langley Park, said: “The project helped us find out about homelessness ourselves rather than being told.

“We got the time to do it and research it for ourselves. We had people coming and telling us how people become homeless and how it can affect people.”

The project was part of the Go-Givers Make a Difference Challenge, which is an initiative for primary schools across the country from the Citizenship Foundation.

The children voted to look at homelessness after being given a choice of a range of issues including health, cancer, sugar in diets and wars that affect children around the world.

They have also made an animated film, which was shown at a conference and will be broadcast on the Go-Givers You Tube channel.

Year six teacher Lisa Curtis said: “It was about the children finding out more about the issue itself and deciding as a group what they would like to do.

“It has been extremely beneficial because it has given them a voice and showed them they can make a difference, no matter how small.

“It shows they are able to influence other people and get their message across.

“There have been loads of benefits. It has developed their collaboration and communication skills and enhanced their sense of empathy towards others.”