A teenager who escaped life on the streets is gearing up to help others in a 72 hour challenge.
Charlie Banton, 19, went into care when he was 13, and was made homeless aged 16 when a family relationship broke down.
Scared and alone he lived for days on the streets of Aylesbury, surviving on the kindness of strangers.
Also suffering from mental health problems, Charlie spent time in prison, an experience he credits with helping him to stop taking prescribed medication, and live life on a more even keel.
And on August 1, Charlie will be back on the streets, living alongside homeless people and helping then by providing food, warm clothes and other items – but he needs our help to make it happen.
He said: “I’m an ambassador for Youth Concern so I know a lot of people who are homeless and am trying to help them.
“I’ve had bad experiences in my life, but that is behind me now and I want to help other people to do what I did.
“People tend to think that homelessness is to do with drink and drugs, or not being bothered to pay the rent.
“But for many people it’s due to the break down of families, having nowhere else to go, and not being able to afford somewhere to stay.”
Charlie has set up a fundraising page, and hopes to raise £2,5000 to complete his challenge.
He said: “My aim is to reach as many people as I can in 72 hours to feed and water them, and equip them with sleeping bags and roll up mats if they need them.
“But I can’t do this on my own, donations from the public are the only way that I will be able to do this.”
He added: “My campaign is to help people understand more about homelessness.
“I will live like a homeless person, even without a sleeping bag because many people don’t have one when they are first made homeless.”
He added: “I won’t just be giving out money, I will personally go and buy the things that are needed, like a hot or cold drink, some food or will take them to buy some new clothes or equipment.
“So far I’ve only raised £25 which will help me feed five people. But I really need the public to help out.”
Any money left over from the challenge will be donated to the Aylesbury Homeless Action Group. To donate visit http://www.gofundme.com/my72hourmission or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also contact Charlie throughout the challenge , if you or someone you now needs help by calling 07598805789