YMCA Sleep Easy Co-ordinator Jerome Whittingham explains “Each year the YMCA in our region offers accommodation and support to well over 300 young people who find themselves without the supportive home that others sometimes take for granted. These are very difficult financial times for many families, and teenagers are often under a lot of pressure from parents to become financially independent. Many teenagers and young people are leaving home without hope of getting employment and homelessness can become a stark reality for some.
“By taking part in the Sleep Easy challenge our supporters are helping to raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness. They are, also, helping us to raise the funds that the YMCA needs to ensure that its work supporting disadvantaged young people can continue. We have a good record of helping young people to turn their lives around. In the last year we’ve helped over 70 young people into further education, and a similar number have been reunited with their estranged families too.
“We’re delighted at the response the public have shown for the YMCA Sleep Easy challenge. The people of Hull obviously have a heart for young people that have found themselves, for one reason or another, in some difficulty.”
On the night Sleep Easy volunteers experienced temperatures down to -7 degrees Celsius, made just a little more comfortable by shelters constructed from cardboard boxes begged from local shops. Staff from Hull CC Training kindly hosted a Soup Kitchen for the voluntary rough sleepers at St Aidan's church. All participants, by enduring one night of what it’s like to be ‘street homeless’, gained a greater understanding of the issue of youth homelessness.
Across the Humber region this year’s YMCA Sleep Easy event has raised about £20,000, with approximately £7,000 of that being raised by people sleeping rough in the grounds of St Aidan’s church, City Life Church, and The Hut youth club on Preston Road.
City Life Church & Project
St Aidan's Church, Southcoates Avenue
Hull CC Youth Development Service
Sleep Easy 2012 - sleep rough so others don't have to.