Night under the stars raises cash to help the homeless

Members of YMCA Norfolk Sleep Easy Team.

Members of YMCA Norfolk Sleep Easy Team. - Credit: Archant

Nearly 40 YMCA Norfolk supporters swapped the warmth of their beds for a night under the stars to raise money and awareness for the homeless in Norfolk.

The supporters spent Saturday night sleeping in cardboard shelters outside the YMCA Sports Centre in Trowse, and took part in activities to bring home the reality of sleeping on the streets.

YMCA Norfolk chief executive, Tim Sweeting, said: 'It is great to see so many supporters sleeping rough to help us do something about the issue of youth homelessness in our community. On Saturday our supporters got get a sense of what it is like to be out in the cold for a night but it will still not be like it is for somebody sleeping rough on the streets.'

Several Norfolk-based companies grabbed their sleeping bags to get involved with the fundraiser.

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Sharon Hollinger, marketing and communications manager for Insight Financial Associates, encouraged a team of eight colleagues to make a difference.

She said: 'Homelessness is real on our streets and we want to make sure that vulnerable young people are supported and housed through the great work of the YMCA.'

Reality director Lucy Carne also took a team of eight property experts to experience sleeping rough.

She said: 'Here at Reality we're so used to helping people find a home which is why this campaign has really a struck a chord with us.

'We have full empathy with what these individuals have to endure, and we wanted to show support for the street homeless, especially at this time of year with freezing temperatures.'

Saturday's stint made some realise how lucky they were to only be experiencing sleeping rough temporarily.

Peter Hurrell, director of Abbotts estate agents, said: 'What this experience has led us all to believe is just the hardship and tragedy for individuals who are not as fortunate as ourselves.

'As I thought about spending the night sleeping out, I knew that at least I had the option of going home in the morning – some other people do not have that opportunity.'

YMCA Norfolk is encouraging people to help the young and homeless by donating the money they save on items for the 40 days of Lent and donating it to the YMCA.

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