People have been sleeping under the stars at Norwich School, in a sports Hall in Trowse and in their own back gardens to help raise awareness of the problem of youth homelessness in Norfolk.
Around 65 students, staff, volunteers and business people joined in the annual YMCA Norfolk Sleep Easy event to raise a hoped-for £15,000 for the Christian youth charity.
The main event took place at Norwich School where school students, as well as groups from Cromer Academy, Bergh Apton Primary School, Children’s Services and YMCA volunteers, as well as individuals from the local community joined in.
Nick Plater, from Norwich School, said: “It gave our pupils an opportunity to express concern and empathy with those less fortunate than themselves, It is clear that in Norwich rough sleeping is increasing and young people can see this. Tonight the wet weather would test anyone’s fortitude but everyone here is in good spirits and has enjoyed building the shelters, it shows that people want to raise awareness.”
Morgan Hardy, from Year 12, said: “I am here to help support and raise awareness for homeless people in Norwich. It is great that people from the community and school have joined together to do this event. I am not looking forward to sleeping on an uncomfortable floor and to the cold.”
YMCA volunteer, Yvonne Mack, said: “How can you understand something unless you have experience a bit of it yourself. I am inspired by families who have been through such tough times”
Also taking part were Becky White, from Larking Gowen, and Will Foley from Birketts, who raised over £500 between them. Will said: “It was Becky’s idea as a Valentine’s present from me. We have really enjoyed the experience. It’s been eye-opening and shocking just how tiny things like lack of comfort make sleeping rough such an unpleasant experience.”
A Youth Sleep Easy (pictured above) was run by Graeme Stewart with a group of 13 young people and four youth leaders from Gateway Vineyard church, at the sports hall in Trowse where they built cardboard shelters.
YMCA Central manager, Martin Rye, and his six-year-old daughter Amelie, built a shelter in their own back garden to take part in the Sleep Easy – they raised over £240.
YMCA Norfolk Marketing and Fundraising Manager, Susie Knights, said: “We are really appreciative of all the support we have received, it was a tough evening with 12 solid hours of rain but everyone dealt with the challenge really well and raised some much needed funds to support vulnerable young people in our county.”
Thanks were expressed to Norwich School and to Berns Brett insurance brokers for sponsorship of the event.
See a full picture gallery see below of visit: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmfEiMfj
Pictures by Julia Holland.