Almost 30 people slept under the stars outside last night to raise money to prevent youth homelessness at a Sleep Out event organised our charity.

We held our annual Ipswich Sleep Out at Ipswich Town Football Club. The event challenged people to spend one night sleeping outside so young people don’t have to.

With an estimated 122,000 young people facing homelessness in the UK last year (source: Centrepoint), we provide a home and support to almost 200 young people Norfolk and Suffolk each night.

Sleep Out does not aim to replicate homelessness and what it is like to be lonely, frightened and vulnerable, but it does give participants a small glimpse of some of the challenges homeless people may face, and is an important fundraising event for The Benjamin Foundation.

Our charity, which was established in 1994, supports young people who may not have had the best start in life into successful, independent living by helping them to learn essential life skills, such as cooking and budgeting, as well as supporting their education and career aspirations and helping them to manage their own tenancies as they progress. We also support the emotional wellbeing of young people and helps to build their resilience and self-esteem. This vital work gives local vulnerable young people hope, opportunity, stability and independence and helps to prevent the local homelessness problem from growing.

We began holding an annual Sleep Out event in Ipswich in 2017 and our Sleep Out events have now raised almost £300,000 since its first event in Norwich in 2015. We are passionate about being able to give more local young people help when they need it most, especially with challenges caused by the pandemic and the cost of living crisis.

Hanna Abdulrahman took part with colleagues from Cooperative Bank. She said:

“Our ethos is ethical banking so as a branch we thought we would take part in Ipswich Sleep Out. I know people who have done it before. We see how hard it is for people at the moment with stress and strain. We’ve raised almost £500 – it’s the least we can do.”

Craig Finbow from Owls Hall Environmental also took part and reflected on the experience in the morning. He said: “What we all take for granted – just being warm at night, without shivering and being constantly aware of what’s around you – you just don’t settle into a deep sleep. Time seems like an eternity so I understand how one day can go into another. This is a local cause so you feel a direct connection.”

Matt Garrod, The Benjamin Foundation Director of Operations says: “Sleep Out is such an important event for our charity. Money raised by supporters enables us to do even more to help young people when they need us the most, supporting them to create the building blocks to successful, independent living and a brighter future. In the current economic climate, this work is needed more than ever.”

The Benjamin Foundation is proud to be the eastern region partner of the End Youth Homelessness (EYH) partnership. Each of the EYH member charities around the UK organise Sleep Out events every Autumn to help support young people to lead successful, independent lives.

Matt continues: “We were so pleased bring our much-loved Sleep Out back to Ipswich this year. We would like to say a huge thank you to our hosts, Ipswich Town Football Club and to all those who supported the event, especially to all of our brilliant participants who stepped out of their comfort zone and slept outside to help more local young people to finally feel hopeful of a better future.”

If you would like to make a contribution to support Sleep Out and The Benjamin Foundation’s work with local young people, please make a donation here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/ipswichsleepout22


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