Hundreds of YMCA supporters from as far afield as Exeter, Somerset, Cambridge and Doncaster raised more than £130,000 in aid of the world’s largest youth charity at this year’s National YMCA Sleep Easy Week, with donations still coming in.
The intrepid fundraisers, who were supporting 16 different YMCAs from all over the country, each slept rough for one night in specially-coordinated events to raise cash for YMCA and also awareness of the hundreds of young people who sleep rough every year in England.
Money brought in will help local YMCAs, which work in more than 740 communities across England and Wales, provide accommodation, training and employment, advice and health and wellbeing services.
Niamh Neville, Director of Fundraising for the national council of YMCAs in England and Wales, said: “Everyone at YMCA would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the participants, young and old, who took part in our national YMCA Sleep Easy Week.
“Sleep Easy has been a mainstay of YMCA fundraising for the past seven years but last week’s national campaign has allowed us to not only bring together all the amazing participants who raised money but also raise even more awareness of what young people who are sleeping rough are going through.
“Every penny raised will help local YMCAs support young people on the ground in local communities all over the country.”
Simon Green is Chief Executive of YMCA Milton Keynes, which ran its event on Friday 3 March.
He said: “Events like this are so important because demand for our services is going up and up. More and more homeless young people are coming to us for help, yet our funding is reducing, so we need to find other ways to fund our services.”
YMCAs that took part in the national Sleep Easy Week were YMCA Exeter, YMCA Mendip, YMCA Somerset Coast, YMCA Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, YMCA Cheltenham, YMCA East Surrey, YMCA Black Country Group, YMCA Doncaster, YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire, YMCA Derbyshire, YMCA Bedfordshire, YMCA Lincolnshire, YMCA Norfolk, YMCA Thames Gateway, YMCA South Devon and Southend YMCA.
The coordinated fundraising week ran from Friday 3 March to Friday 10 March.