18 October 2016


YMCA Coventry & Warwickshire is calling on local people to take part in their annual ‘Sleep Easy’ fundraising event to raise awareness of youth homelessness and vital funds to support local young people in need.

The charity, which provides accommodation for 73 otherwise homeless young people, is looking to raise awareness among local people of what it is like to be on the streets for just one night.

The organisation also supports many more in the area through a range of sport programmes, specialist training sessions within local schools and our social enterprises.

An exciting new venue and corporate support for 2017

Responding to the growing demand, and eager to ensure that the annual fundraiser can continue its expansion, YMCA is delighted to announce that Coventry Rugby Club have agreed to host the 2017 event. Officials at the Butts Park Arena have donated their venue free of charge and are encouraging players, managers, sponsors and supporters to sign up.

Participants will sleep in a cardboard box at the event, which takes place from 7pm on Friday 3rd March to 7am the following day, to gain an insight into life outside. By making their ‘beds’ for the night within the stadium grounds, the intrepid band of fundraisers will help create positive futures for even more young people.

Trained chef Jamie Grant, a member of the 2016 event, has also stepped forward offering to stock the ‘soup kitchen’ with freshly made soup.

John Kiely, Chairman of Coventry Bid and local McDonald’s franchisee, has also stepped up offering financial and practical support to reduce event costs.

Another local firm, Jigsaw CCS, have agreed to donate over 60 wooden pallets to keep the braziers burning all night long offering warmth to participants.

Jaguar Land Rover’s Business Protection Team have also confirmed their support for the event. For the third year running they will be entering a fundraising team as well as supporting our event marshals on the night.

Tackling homelessness in Coventry and Warwickshire

Through this fundraiser, the charity is looking to raise awareness among local people of what it is like to be on the streets for just one night. Participants are asked to pay an entry fee and encouraged to raise money through sponsorship.

Andy Winter, YMCA Coventry & Warwickshire Chief Executive, said, “The 2016 Sleep Easy was the most successful yet with £16,745.91 raised in just one night. More than 60 people slept under the canopy at Coventry Cathedral, smashing the previous fundraising total by over £10,000.

“We’d like to encourage as many people as possible to sign up to Sleep Easy 2017. Whilst we can’t promise them a comfortable nights’ sleep, we can offer a glimpse into a different reality and a chance to make a real difference.

“Simply put, we sleep rough for one night so many young people can sleep safe for another.”

Lara Hunter, Business Development Manager at Coventry Rugby added: Coventry Rugby are entirely behind the good work that is being undertaken by the YMCA and their associates.   When approached about the event we were immediately impressed with the success of the previous ventures that have taken place in Coventry and had no hesitation in offering our facility to support the night.

“We would encourage anyone involved with Coventry Rugby to take a look at this event and consider either taking part or offering some form of assistance. We would always encourage support of the youngsters of the City and indeed the country, who are struggling with the everyday life.”

Participants will be provided with warm food and drinks and a plenty of cardboard to make a bed to ensure everyone is kept safe, warm and in good spirit.

All funds raised will be used within the local area to eradicate the reality of youth homelessness for many young people.

YMCA Coventry & Warwickshire is a part of federation of 113 independent YMCAs, forming the oldest and largest youth charity in the world.

To find out more about taking part in Sleep Easy, please visit www.ymca-cw.org.uk

or email events@ymca-cw.org.uk.

To make a donation or find out about volunteering for YMCA Coventry & Warwickshire please visit www.ymca-cw.org.uk or telephone 02476 597009