More than 1,000 heroic YMCA supporters from across the country have bedded down under the stars in freezing temperatures to raise a record-breaking amount of money for young people and increase awareness of the scores of homeless people sleeping rough on our streets every night.
With only cardboard boxes for shelter and sleeping bags for warmth, an astounding £464,802 has been raised so far by YMCA Sleep Easy supporters, who took part in events from Exeter to Doncaster and Norfolk to Newcastle. The money brought in will be ploughed into local YMCA services operating in 740 communities across England and Wales, which help to support young people in rebuilding their lives.
A total of 19 events took place during National Sleep Easy Week (9 to 16 March 2018), with more than 700 hardy participants bravely accepting the challenge. An impressive £250,000 has already been collected, with figures expected to rise over the next month as more sponsorship rolls in. YMCAs that signed up for National Sleep Easy Week were YMCA Bedfordshire, YMCA Trinity Group, YMCA Cheltenham, YMCA Doncaster, YMCA Exeter, YMCA Lincolnshire, Milton Keynes YMCA, YMCA Norfolk, YMCA Thames Gateway, YMCA Black Country, YMCA North London, YMCA Mendip, YMCA Ripon, YMCA Teesdale, YMCA Fairthorne Group, YMCA DownsLink Group, YMCA Derbyshire and YMCA Newcastle.
As a significant event in many of our towns and cities, Sleep Easy has attracted participants from a wide range of backgrounds, such as local councillors, dignitaries, and people from the world of politics. This included MPs Mohammad Yasin and Catherine West, who abandoned their home comforts to take part in the YMCA Bedfordshire and YMCA North London’s events respectively.
Helping to spread the word far and wide about Sleep Easy, social media networks were set alight by supporters. A total of 3,800 tweets were posted using the hashtag #YMCASleepEasy reaching 3,190,360 people.
Upcoming Sleep Easy events include, YMCA Coventry, YMCA Sutton Coldfield, YMCA West London, YMCA Burton and YMCA Bournemouth, which will be taking place throughout the year.