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'YMCA Sleep Easy' in Norwich

Volunteer Liz Fuller, left; Rita Whitworth, lodging provider with Daisy the dog; and Denise Hunter, YMCA resettlement officer, all taking part in the YMCA Norfolk Sleep Easy event sleeping rough outside St Peter Mancroft Church to raise awareness of homelessness and to raise funds to help tackle the problem.

Volunteer Liz Fuller, left; Rita Whitworth, lodging provider with Daisy the dog; and Denise Hunter, YMCA resettlement officer, all taking part in the YMCA Norfolk Sleep Easy event sleeping rough outside St Peter Mancroft Church to raise awareness of homelessness and to raise funds to help tackle the problem.

©Archant Photographic 2011

More than 40 people spent a night sleeping under the stars in Norwich to raise money to fight homelessness in the region.

Armed with sleeping bags, warm clothes and hot drinks, staff, supporters and friends of YMCA Norfolk slept out at St Peter Mancroft Church, opposite The Forum in Norwich’s city centre, overnight on Saturday.

Susie Knights, communications and fundraising manager for YMCA Norfolk, said: “We had a great night, with 41 participants in Norwich at St Peter Mancroft Church.

“It gave a glimpse into the challenges of homelessness and I find myself counting my many blessings as I know I could not easily face another night sleeping rough.”

Rev Janet Wyer, associate priest at St Peter Mancroft Church, held a short candle lit service at 10pm and prayers for a peaceful night were answered with most people settling down by midnight and managing to stay warm in their sleeping bags until breakfast was served at 6.40am.

More than £2000 has already been raised with many more sponsor monies to come. All proceeds will go to the development of 40 self-contained units in Bethel Street that are being built to support young people and help them achieve independence.

More than 13 people also took part in the ‘YMCA Sleep Easy’ at a private venue in King’s Lynn.

YMCA Norfolk provides a warm bed to 231 young people in supported accommodation across the county each night.

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