On Friday 1st November, a record 40 individuals braved the elements and spent one night sleeping outside to help tackle local youth homelessness, so far raising over £8,500.

Our annual Ipswich Sleep Out event supports our work in Suffolk to prevent youth homelessness by inviting people to spend one night outside so others don’t have to. Money raised through sponsorship helps our work to tackle the problem locally by providing a home and support to vulnerable young people aged 16 to 25. We also provide them with the skills they need so they can go on and forge an independent life.

This year’s Ipswich Sleep Out took place in the car park of Birketts on Princes Street and was well supported by both local individuals and businesses. Accountancy firm BDO, who have an office on the Ransomes Europark, were represented at Ipswich Sleep Out by 17 members of staff, including BDO East Anglia Regional Managing Partner, Lisa Clampin, who said:

“Last year, colleagues from our Norwich office took part in Norwich Sleep Out and they had such a lot of energy and enthusiasm about it. Helping local charities is important to us; our CSR citizenship programme helps us to affect and influence our local community, where we can see the difference our support will make. Our team is enthusiastic about this year’s Ipswich event – we want to bring even more people to Sleep Out next year!”

Lisa adds: “I have a choice; I can go home tomorrow. The young people we are helping through taking part in Ipswich Sleep Out don’t have a choice and that’s something we can help with and make a difference by making a small sacrifice this evening.”

We have been working in Suffolk since 2016. With accommodation centres for young people in Ipswich and Stowmarket, we also support young people through a network of hosts in the county, who are trained and supported by the charity to look after a young person in the host’s own home.

The result is that vulnerable young people throughout Suffolk, who have not had the best start in life, are provided with a safe place to live, stability and the opportunity to learn important life skills, such as shopping, cooking, and budgeting their money to help them move towards independence. We also support their education and career aspirations. This work helps to keep them off the streets to prevent the local homelessness problem growing.

Money raised from previous Ipswich Sleep Out events has helped young people to purchase items such as clothing for job interviews, bikes to get to college or work, workwear, and counselling to name just a few.

One young person supported by our charity said: “Thanks to money raised at last year’s Sleep Out, I was able to buy my provision drivers licence, which meant I had ID to open my own bank account at last.  This has made my life so much easier.”

Adrian Seagers, Partner at Birketts, who provided the venue for Ipswich Sleep Out said:

“I was struck by how deserving the cause was; it was the thought of young adults from a disadvantaged background being alone, vulnerable and scared.”

Adrian continues: “Our fundraising is going well. We’ve raised about £1,200 so far. People have been really generous. I will be tired in the morning but I hope I will feel like I’ve been able to make a contribution that makes a difference to a local young person’s life.”

The Benjamin Foundation’s Marketing and Fundraising Manager, Chris Elliott says:

“We’re delighted by the support of local people and businesses for Ipswich Sleep Out 2019. A record number of people took part last night in wet weather conditions. The money they raise will give local young people who haven’t had the best start in life the opportunity to get back on track and shape a better future – a sincere thank you to everybody who took part in last night’s event. They have raised over £8,500 so far and we anticipate that will increase over the coming days and weeks as sponsorship continues to come in.”

Chris continues: “Thank you also to our hosts, Birketts who have very kindly supported Ipswich Sleep Out once again by allowing us to use their car park as the Sleep Out venue.”

We are proud to be a partner charity of End Youth Homelessness, a UK-wide network of local charities that have joined forces to tackle youth homelessness together. It provides a national platform to raise awareness, share experience and generate voluntary income though Sleep Out, which in 2018 raised over £1.2million in 15 locations across the UK.

Chris concludes: “We are celebrating our 25th anniversary this year, so we really are thrilled that Ipswich Sleep Out 2019 has given our charity a boost during this special year to help us help more vulnerable young people in the county.”

If you would like to donate to The Benjamin Foundation Sleep Out, please visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BenjaminFoundation

I like the support because it has helped me cope with worries and believe in myself.

Young person supported by our Butterflies service

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