Norwich charity boss to become homeless - for one night

Sarah BrealeyThe chief executive of a charity will be spending a night on the streets to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless.Sarah Brealey

The chief executive of a charity will be spending a night on the streets to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless.

Staff and supporters of YMCA Norfolk will taking to their sleeping bags and using cardboard boxes to protect themselves from the elements.

Tim Sweeting, the chief executive, will be one of those be sleeping out on Saturday, January 30 to raise awareness and to raise money for the homeless.

YMCA residents in St Giles hostel will have a bird's eye view of the proceedings, which will be taking place on Bethel Street in Norwich, behind the hostel.

The Bethel Street site is where YMCA Norfolk is planning to build �4.2m flats for homeless young people. At the moment the YMCA provides a bed to 231 young people in supported accommodation in Norfolk each night.

The sleep-out coincides with 14 other similar events being held by local YMCAs across the country and also takes place during Poverty and Homelessness Action Week, which starts on January 30.

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Cardboard boxes are being provided by local businesses Hollinger Print and Hussey Knights, and there will be a competition for the best cardboard shelter.

A webcam on the YMCA website will also cover the event, so people who have sponsored the event can check that no-one is sneaking off to bed.

YMCA Norfolk chief executive, Tim Sweeting, said: 'We are seeing a greater demand for our services than we can house and our response has been to seek to develop a 40-bed unit on Bethel Street to meet the increased demand we are experiencing.

'We hope that the Sleep Easy event will draw attention to the issue locally and also help myself, and others who take part, put themselves in the shoes of the homeless and the conditions they can face on a daily basis.'

The Bishop of Norwich Graham James, who is the charity's patron, said: 'YMCA's work in Norwich and Norfolk gives dignity and respect to many people in danger of isolation and sleeping rough on our streets. This campaign highlights the importance of that work.'

If you would like to take part, contact Susie Knights on 07967 741103 or or visit

Are you doing something different to raise money for charity? Call the Evening News on 01603 772485 or email