September 23 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Dozens of young people swapped their blankets for boxes to sleep under the stars as part of a charity event to raise awareness and funds for homelessness.
The third annual Youth Sleep Easy event, which was run by YMCA Norfolk, took place outside the YMCA Sports Centre at Trowse, near Norwich, on Friday, July 18.
More than 50 young people, their families and YMCA supporters and staff built cardboard shelters and played games before settling down for the night.
15-year-old Callum Perry, from Broadland Youth Advisory Board, said: “For me it is all about understanding how homeless people live and how their lives are different from ours. I think that YMCA Norfolk is a really good charity that we can learn from and help.
“I look at some of the stories from the YMCA young people and I can relate them to myself and I think it must be really hard for them. If I can help in any way then I am on board to do that and help other people realize what it is to be homeless in this country.”
Brave youngsters recruited their friends and family to join them in raising funds to combat homelessness.
Sian Poindexter, 15, brought her brother and mother to the event. They raised more than £130 by posting on Facebook and Twitter.
“I got a feel of what it is like to be homeless but also raise awareness of the different young people who don’t have a home. By posting it on social media sites a lot more people will be made aware of the issue,” she said.
Esther Heybourne runs Soaked Youth at Taverham Evangelical Church, which acts as a meeting people for young people.
“I thought it would be a good idea to bring some of the young people from Soaked along to help make them aware of the iss clients ue of youth homelessness in Norfolk and have a bit of fun at the same time.
“I hope that our young people will go away with a better understanding of some of the risks that are out there and that there are other young people who struggle and face challenges and don’t have things as good as they themselves might,” she said.
In 2013, YMCA Norfolk received 650 applications for housing and was only able to find homes for 450 people - leaving them forced to leave 200 people on the streets.
Tim Sweeting, YMCA Norfolk CEO, said that fund-raisers help to ensure more people can be helped.
“This event will raise some money to help us to do that and also to offer developmental opportunities so that our residents can really develop into their full potential.”
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