Prince William praises Norwich fundraisers for sleeping under the stars

A charity event which has seen more than 100 people give up their beds for the night and sleep rough has received the royal seal of approval.

Fundraisers are tonight braving cold conditions as they sleep in the grounds of Taylor Wimpey's NR1 development in Geoffrey Watling Way, near Carrow Road, to raise awareness of homelessness.

The largest Sleep Out of its kind is being held to help raise funds for city-based charity St Edmunds Society, which provides preventative work with vulnerable young people.

It is designed to bring participants a step closer to the reality of homelessness while raising funds locally which will provide support for disadvantaged and marginalised young people.

Those who are taking part have been praised by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.

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The patron of the charity Centrepoint, one of the charities involved, said: 'I would like to thank everyone in Norwich who braved the elements and participated in the first ever nationwide Sleep Out.

'The event highlights the high rates of homelessness and the desperate need for education in preventative work among young people in the United Kingdom in the 21st century and it raises vital funds to provide life-changing support to those young people.

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'As patron of Centrepoint, I have seen the devastating impact of homelessness on young people, but I have also seen the remarkable work of the organisations that help, which is made possible thanks to events like Sleep Out. I am hopeful that we will see the end of youth homelessness in our generation, thanks in large part to efforts like this.'

Seven events are taking place up and down the country tonight in aid of a range of charities. It is hoped �500,000 will be raised nationally.

Lorraine Bliss, from St Edmunds Society, said: 'To see this many people turn out is fantastic. There's a good crowd of people who are not only raising a lot of money but raising the issue of prevention and homelessness.

'Sleep Out gives a glimpse of what it's like to sleep out on the cold streets of Norwich and other cities.

'Young people are doing this every night.'

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