Volunteers get a taste of being homeless for the Benjamin Foundation’s Sleep Out fundraiser in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 09:20 18 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:20 18 November 2017

The Benjamin Foundation Sleep Out 2017. Fundraisiers get ready for the night ahead. Photo: Geraldine Scott

The Benjamin Foundation Sleep Out 2017. Fundraisiers get ready for the night ahead. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Geraldine Scott

A determined group braved the elements to raise money for a charity which helps homeless people get off the streets.

The Sleep Out - now in its third year - in aid of the Benjamin Foundation, took place in the Eastern Daily Press car park on Rouen Road, Norwich.

More than 100 people took part to experience a glimpse of what it is like to sleep on the streets.

It is hoped the overnight event, which involved people trying to sleep on thin bits of cardboard, could raise £25,000-£30,000.

At the end of the Sleep Out Chris Elliott, marketing and fundraising manager for the Benjamin Foundation, said: “I’m very happy that so many people supported us tonight and stuck it through on a really cold evening.

“We came prepared but it was uncomfortable. You cannot get any stretches of sleep.

“I think people who take part think differently about homelessness. They feel grateful going home to their families and warm houses. You can connect with homelessness in a different way.”

The Benjamin Foundation helps give young homeless people the skills needed to live independently, while also providing them with accommodation.

The Sleep Out is one of its biggest money makers for the worthy project.

Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News editor David Powles, who took part in the fundraiser, said: “I started to feel a bit cold and uncomfortable and then everything became more pronounced. The noises became louder and lights around the car park became a bit brighter. The night dragged on and I felt like it would never end. This is what hit home for me, because I could go back to a bed. I cannot imagine what it is like to start the day knowing what you have just done [sleeping outside], is something you have to do the next day and potentially the next. It must be absolutely heart-breaking.”

He added he enjoyed the experience and said the Sleep Out raised the importance of the work carried out by the Benjamin Foundation for homeless youngsters.

“These girls and guys deserve a second chance to get their lives back.”

Another participant said the night made her realise how vulnerable homeless people were.

To donate to the Sleep Out, click here.

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