Calling young people – please help us!
We are looking for young people who will take up an extreme challenge. We are asking them to sleep under the stars for a night – in winter! Could you give up the cosy comfort of your own bed for a Sleep Easy event? Do you know a school or youth group who could take up this challenge?
Anyone aged 16 and over* can take part in our Sleep Easy Sleepouts on Friday 16 March 2018, but we suggest separate age-appropriate events for groups of under 16s eg school and youth groups.
*16 and 17 year olds require parental consent and should be accompanied by a responsible adult on the night
When and where?
Our own Sleep Easy events will take place under the stars on Friday – Saturday 16-17 March. You can stage your own Sleep Easy event whenever suits you. We don’t want anyone’s health to be put at risk so there are two options:
Sleeping out – Choose a venue that suits you, remembering your young people will appreciate access to a kitchen overnight for hot drinks and breakfast in the morning, toilet facilities and somewhere dry should the weather become too wet or cold. Do you have grounds around your building that would lend themselves?
Sleeping over – Young people love to sleepover and this is an equally valid way of raising awareness of youth homelessness. Many young people ‘sofa surf’ where they can when staying at home is no longer an option.
YMCA DownsLink Group provides accommodation for around 550 young people every night. Most of these would otherwise be homeless and the purpose of the event is to raise awareness of youth homelessness. This sponsored event also raises vital funds for our work. This enables us to support young people into stable accommodation and meaningful employment. Would your young people like to help us and make a difference?
One night of rough sleeping cannot be a true taste of homelessness but it is certainly thought provoking. Thought such as:
- Where do the homeless spend a penny?
- How much can they carry around with them all day to then use to keep themselves warm and relatively comfortable at night?
- When body parts are chilled, with no hot drinks at arm’s length, how do they ever feel warm again?
- How vulnerable can a person feel?
- Surely this can’t be a lifestyle anyone would choose?
The reality is that some young people find staying at home impossible. This may be due to a breakdown of family relationships, abuse or simply an abdication of parental responsibility – the reasons are as varied as the young people we encounter.
Our staff do all they can to help young people overcome the problems they face. Your young people may know someone affected by these issues, and if they don’t there’s a good deal of scope for discussion. Young people raising funds to support other young people has something very poignant about it so do please encourage them to raise funds too – it’s very satisfying!
What do I do now?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you want to sign up. Then we will send you an entry pack with more information about how to prepare for the event. Remember, sleeping outdoors can be an extreme challenge especially if temperatures fall below zero. This should only be undertaken by people with minimal health issues.
The Sleep Easy Sleepout is a key element of our voluntary fundraising for our work. Please help to make it a success – there are so many young people who just can’t make it on their own. They need our help.