On Friday 16 March 2018, 177 volunteers slept out across four venues raising funds for the work of YMCA DownsLink Group across Sussex and Surrey.
Events took place at Brighton & Hove’s Sixth Form College BHASVIC, at Horsham YMCA Football Club, in the grounds of Guildford Castle and at the University of Surrey with the Students’ Union staging their own event on campus.
The event has so far raised more than £50,000 which will go towards supporting YMCA DLG projects in the local areas and also Galvanise in Brighton & Hove. GalvaniseBH is part of the European Campaign to End Street Homelessness and is a group of organisations working together with the local community to find creative solutions to homelessness.
Helena Mason, Vice President for the University of Surrey Students’ Union , slept out on the University’s piazza and said, “Being woken up in the early hours by freezing winds as the ‘beast from the east’ made its return was a solemn reminder that, while we packed our boxes up and made our way home, some people don’t have that option.
“Doing a fundraiser like this brings that sharply into focus, we had the luxury of building elaborate cardboard castles but many of those on the streets have to make do with next to no protection from the elements, which is why they need help from amazing organisations such as the YMCA.”
Chas Walker, CEO of YMCA DLG, said, “On one of the coldest nights of the year, when many local authorities were implementing severe weather warning protocols to try and protect rough sleepers, 177 of our supporters were taking part in the YMCA DLG Sleep Easy event. They braved freezing temperatures to sleep out and raise awareness of the issue of homelessness. We are so thankful for the great work of all those involved.”