In the UK, in the last year, more than 2.5 million families have plunged into poverty. On Friday 6th March, one week after sleeping on the streets for a night, I presented a show on poverty and homelessness.

Guest Randeep Singh from the Sikh Welfare and Awareness Team (SWAT) discussed how his organisation helps those sleeping on the streets; provides food services for those who cannot afford to eat; and partners with local businesses to provide expert assistance with other issues that affect those in poverty such as mental health, drug and alcohol problems.

Randeep spoke about how his work very much stems from the concept of ‘seva’ which is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘selfless service’.

Also on the show was Jaswinder Kumar, an ex-homeless man. Jaswinder explained his story about working as a car mechanic for 15 years before the company he worked for closed down and he was forced into homelessness. With SWAT’s services, he was given food and clothing.

Jaswinder discussed how he is desperate to go back home to India where his family live, but he is experiencing difficulty due to not possessing the relevant documents and the lengthy process.

It is ironic that the government wants to crack down on immigration yet it is so difficult for people to leave the country once they enter. However, on the flip side, those who return to their home country (if it is India) face incrimination which is another factor that makes it difficult for the people who want to return.

But the bottom line is that those who are living here and are jobless are helpless. Randeep explained how he walked into an area with over 200 homeless immigrants in Southall at the beginning of his career, which is the main reason he got involved in the work he is doing.

Throughout the show, we aired various clips and video footage of the homeless and the circumstances their live in, as well as clips of grateful people that use SWAT’s food services.

We also showed clips of when I took part in the YMCA’s Sleep Easy charity challenge, where I slept on the streets for one night to raise money for and awareness of homelessness.

Emotional is the word to describe it. The night was extremely tough as I could not get warm. Every time I fell asleep, I would wake up colder than before. You can really feel the temperature drop throughout the night.

But although that was difficult, nothing was more difficult that night than trying to digest how people my age, living down the road to me, are struggling so much to make a life let alone follow their dreams. Yet they were so inspiring, motivated, and friendly.

On my first live Zee Companion show on Zee TV, I settled my nerves by remembering the words the YMCA residents said to me that night which was to keep following my dreams.

It was an eye-opening and humbling experience to say the least and one that I will never forget.

Thank you to everyone who donated. I raised £1052.25 for a brilliant cause. If you want to get involved in Sleep Easy next year, visit http://www.ymca.org.uk/fundraising/sleep-easy.