Youth charity tackles homelessness across Norfolk with outdoor sleep event
- Credit: Archant
A group of people have been sleeping under the stars, inside a sports hall, and in their own back gardens to raise awareness of youth homelessness.
Around 65 students, staff, volunteers and business people joined in the annual YMCA Norfolk Sleep Easy event in a bid to raise £15,000 for the Christian youth charity.
The main event took place at Norwich School where many joined in, including students, groups from Cromer Academy, Bergh Apton Primary School, Children's Services and YMCA volunteers, and individuals from the local community.
Nick Plater, of 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.'
Year 12 pupil, Morgan Hardy, said they were not looking forward to sleeping on an 'uncomfortable floor' or the cold.
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'I am here to help support and raise awareness for homeless people in Norwich,' they said. 'It is great that people from the community and school have joined together to do this event.'
YMCA volunteer, Yvonne Mack, added: 'I am inspired by families who have been through such tough times'
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Also taking part were Becky White, from Larking Gowen, and Will Foley, from Birketts, who raised more than £500 between them.
Following the experience, Mr Foley said: '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 was also 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, near Norwich, 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 too and they raised more than £240.
Thanks were expressed to Norwich School and to Berns Brett insurance brokers for sponsorship of the event.