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YMCA Norfolk

Sleeping on Norwich streets to highlight homelessness

Around 50 YMCA Norfolk staff, supporters and clients slept under the stars in freezing temperatures in a Norwich graveyard last night to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness in the city and county. 


SleepEasyJan12x420Around 30 people joined the all-night event taking place outside St Peter Mancroft church next to Millennium Plain in Norwich. A further 20 under-18s joined a youth event in the YMCA Sports Centre at Trowse near Norwich.
The third annual event included a shelter-building competition, Zumba class, a candlelit service inside St Peter Mancroft led by Rev Janet Wyer, a treasure hunt, stories from some of the young people who have benefitted from the help of YMCA Norfolk and just a little sleep.
Daniel, a resident from YMCA Central said: “I was homeless and last November I slept on the streets for a month. I just wandered from place to place and for the first few nights I did not know what to do. It was cold and I was very wary of who was about. Then I was advised to go to the YMCA and they managed to find me a place. I think that taking part in the Sleep Easy is important as it gives people an idea of what it is like to sleep rough.”
SleepEasyJan12All460Denise Hunter, a YMCA Norfolk supported lodgings support worker, said: “This is the third time I have done it and it is so cold it can be painful. It is a real eye-opener into the world that some people sadly have to endure. During our work we see many young people who have spent a few nights doing this for real.”
BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Emma Philpotts was one of those who joined the Sleep Easy and she broadcast from the event during her Sunday Morning Show.
YMCA Norfolk chief executive, Tim Sweeting, said: “In these tough economic times, homelessness is a very real danger for many more people and it is all too easy for previously securely housed people to end up without a home. We want to raise awareness of this and what we are doing to combat it.

“All the funds raised will go towards the building of our new accommodation centre in central Norwich so that 40 people on any one night can have a home and help to get back on their feet.”
YMCA Norfolk patron, the Bishop of Norwich Graham James, said: "The 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.  Our city is more compassionate because the YMCA is at work here."

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Here are the photos from Sleep Easy 2012



Article printed from at 09:39 on 21 October 2014