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Into the Wild: Guildford Activist Sleeps With Badgers to Raise Funds for Homeless Youth

Published on: 18 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 20 Jun, 2020

James Miller

James Miller, an environmental campaigner and nature documentary film-maker, spent a night with a badger sett, in a wood near Guildford to raise money for leading youth homeless charity Centrepoint.

The 18-year-old student, who has appeared on Sky News Kids public speaking at the RSPB AGM and was interviewed by John Snow on Channel 4 News discussing the State of Nature report 2019, hung up his hammock for the night alongside a clan of badgers.

After he gave up his hammock and bedded down on a fallen tree, he saw two badger cubs emerge. You can watch the film of his time with the badgers here:

James, fellow students and teachers at the Royal Grammar School in Guildford (RGS), raised an astounding £10,000 for Centrepoint.

He said: “I ‘ve always had a love of badgers. They’re wrongly demonised in certain circles, when in fact they’re quite docile and gentle animals.

“Not many people see them because they come out at night so I thought I ‘d take the opportunity to do something I love while raising money for a really important cause.

James struck lucky when two badger cubs appeared

“I spend a lot of time telling people they should have a greater degree of global empathy and care for people who are having their forest cut down in the Amazon, or whose homes have been destroyed by wildfires due to climate change.

“I now wanted to remind people how important it is to care about the people who are homeless in our own neighbourhood as well.”

Lucy Goble, community and events fundraising manager of Centrepoint, said: “It ‘s amazing to see the creative ways in which our supporters are fundraising for us, especially when so many of our events have been cancelled due to coronavirus.

“But the fact that our supporters come up with safe yet entertaining ways of raising money for homeless young people in our hostels, continues to impress us and allows our work to continue.

“Even as lockdown eases the future looks uncertain. For the homeless young people we support, this uncertainty can trigger financial and emotional stress.

“We need to provide stability and it ‘s impossible for us to do this without the help of our supporters. We can’t thank James and his fellow students and teachers enough.”

The charity has been delivering vital support to homeless young people during the pandemic, ensuring their key workers are kept safe. Now they are starting to rebuild young people’s lives as lockdown measures ease.

Social distancing has led to Centrepoint’s nationwide community Sleep Outs being cancelled, But the charity is urging people to stage their own safe Sleep Outs with members of their household.

Due to the cancellation of events and face-to-face fundraising this year, homeless young people need support now more than ever.

The charity runs hostels across the UK supporting homeless young people get a job and a home. Between January and March 2019 an estimated 24,455 young people approached their local council in England because they were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

During this pandemic, Centrepoint Helpline calls have jumped by 50 per cent from young people facing homelessness. The charity continues to support more than 1,000 of them in lockdown in their hostels.

To keep up with James’ environmental activism follow him on Twitter @JamesNaturalist and Instagram @jamesmillernature, and visit his website: http://www.kneedeepinnature.co.uk/home/. More information on Centrepoint’s Emergency Coronavirus Appeal can be found at coronavirus.centrepoint.org.uk.

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