YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire is urging the community to take part in its annual ‘Sleep Easy’ fundraising event, as places begin to fill up.
The event, which will take place on Friday 3rd March, is designed to raise awareness of youth homelessness and vital funds to support local young people. Participants will have to brave the cold and sleep in a makeshift cardboard box outside, at Coventry Rugby’s Butts Park Arena.
YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire is one of 15 local YMCAs across the country that have joined forces to raise during the first ever national Sleep Easy Week (Friday 3 to Friday 10 March). The charity which provides accommodation to more that 70 young people in Coventry and Rugby at any one time, aims to have 100 people involved and to raise more than £20,000 making it the biggest event organised to date. Funds raised will be used to support local young people with advice, guidance, training and personal development opportunities to help them to build a better life.
Andy Winter, YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire Chief Executive, said:
“YMCAs across the country are holding Sleep Easy events at the same time to raise much needed awareness of the plight of rough sleeping among young people.
“We are calling on the local community, old and young, to sign up to the YMCA Sleep Easy Week to help us support local young people today and into the future. One night out can make a lifetime of difference.”
“We believe that no young person should ever have to be homeless let alone sleep rough. The more people who get involved in the sleep out, the more young people we will be able to help with our work in the local area.”
Participants will have to pay an entry fee of £20 for an individual or £50 for a team of up to 6, to take part in YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire’s event and they will also be asked to raise money through sponsorship. There is also a £10 registration fee for students, unemployed and concessions.
It is hoped that this year’s coordinated fundraising week will help YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire raise even more that before as the numbers of rough sleepers of all ages continues to rise and pressures mount on the housing market. Last year, YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire’s Sleep Easy event saw 65 people taking part and raising more than £16,000.
This year, local business are also getting involved by registering teams and pledging support with in kind donations. To date; Coventry Rugby have provided the venue free of charge, John Kiely proprietor of several Coventry McDonalds franchises has given a financial donation towards the event running costs and offered a security guard for the evening to keep the site secure, Jamie Grant a trained chef and previous participant, is making fresh soup for the soup kitchen, Wasps have donated tea, coffee and biscuits for participants and Jigsaw CCS have offered to provide wooden pallets for the brazier and cardboard for participants to use to make their bed for the night. Donations of breakfasts are still being sought to keep event costs to a minimum.
YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire is part of a federation of 113 independent YMCAs, forming the oldest and largest youth charity in the world. Last year, YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire provided 167 young people with warm, safe, supported accommodation and worked with 2,240 young people in the community through a range of projects.
If you are not able to sign up to sleep out, donations can be made online at https://ymca-cw.org.uk/make-a-donation