Charity appeals for help to stop young people sleeping on Norfolk’s streets this Christmas

Leah Jenkinson. Pic: Submitted

Leah Jenkinson. Pic: Submitted - Credit: Submitted

A campaign to ensure no young person in Norfolk has to spend Christmas sleeping in the street, in cars or on friends' floors has been launched.

YMCA Norfolk has launched a Home for Christmas campaign as it looks to provide a safe home for more than 260 homeless young people this festive season.

The charity's chief executive, Tim Sweeting, said: 'There are children and young people out there who are sleeping on the streets, in cars, or on a series of friends' floors until they run out of options.

'They have no safe base from which to build a life for themselves. So we are encouraging the local community to join us in making sure no child or young person experiences the instability and fear of having no place to call home.

'As the winter weather draws in we become all the more aware of children, young people and families who are without a home. Last year we would have needed an additional 285 homes to house all the people who applied to us. So we are redoubling our efforts to provide a safe warm home through our campaign.'

One person helped last year was Leah Jenkinson, 21, from Norwich. She moved into YMCA-supported lodgings after a relationship breakdown with her family.

She said: 'In the run-up to Christmas I was not looking forward to it and thought I would be lonely and sad. But things changed for me, my supported lodgings providers gave me a Christmas I couldn't have dreamed of.

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'My providers welcomed me into their family traditions. I got to spend the day playing games and enjoying myself.'

The YMCA says £10 would provide a Christmas gift to someone who might otherwise go without, £15 would pay for a bed for the night on Christmas Eve and £250 would pay for Christmas dinner for all the young people in one of the charity's housing services.

To donate: People can text YMCA15 and the amount to 70070, online http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com or by sending a cheque to YMCA Norfolk, 35-37 Exchange Street, Norwich NR2 1DP.

• Are you doing something to help others this Christmas? Email david.hannant@archant.co.uk