On Thursday 15th November a record-breaking 146 people congregated at Norwich City Football Club to make the 2018 Norwich Sleep Out the biggest yet! Through a combination of participation fees and sponsorship, the event has raised over £30,000 with more funds still expected in the coming weeks.
The aim of our annual Sleep Out event is to give those participating the experience of a winter night on the street, as well as raising money to tackle youth homelessness by giving vulnerable young people a stable home and the skills they need so they can leave and forge an independent life.
Chris Elliott, Marketing and Fundraising Manager, explained: “The Sleep Out events are a great way to increase awareness of the issue of homelessness, whilst raising much-needed funds which we use to deliver the work we do in tackling youth homelessness in Norfolk and Suffolk. In today’s climate of funding cuts and political uncertainty, fundraising has become more important than ever if we are to continue the work we do in this region.”
There are currently 86,000 homeless young people in the UK every year [source: www.eyh.org.uk] and as regional partner for the End Youth Homelessness campaign, we’re committed to helping tackle the issue. At any one time, our charity provides a home and support for over 100 young people in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Former Norwich City player, Paul McVeigh was attending his first Sleep Out.
He said: “I couldn’t believe some of the statistics about young homeless people in the UK – an estimated 86,000. It’s scary and sad. It [Sleep Out] is a fraction of what people actually go through. I’ve heard this is the biggest turn out for The Benjamin Foundation’s Sleep Out yet – I’m proud to be part of it.”
Gemma Hewitt and Sam Knowles said: “There’s a really nice atmosphere and we’re all here for the same reason. We’re amazed at how many people are doing it. Our fundraising is going really well – we’ve doubled our fundraising target – we’re now up to about £350 . People have been really generous.”
The event also really engaged the business community, with many local companies attending with teams from their offices to Sleep Out, such as law firm Birketts, who also hosted the Ipswich Sleep Out in the car park of their new Suffolk offices. There were 10 members of the Norfolk Birketts Team sleeping out in Norwich and they raised a fantastic £1,735.00.
Chris Elliott added: “Our sincere thanks to all those who took part and have raised so much money to help us continue our work with vulnerable young adults. We are also hugely grateful to all the businesses who provided food and drinks and helped in other ways plus the volunteers who make this event possible.”
If you’d like to support our work to prevent local youth homelessness, you can boost our Sleep Out fundraising total even further by donating here.
Something which stood out from the other nurseries is how keen staff are to try new things and develop the facilities and activities.