Volunteers Sleep Out to end youth homelessness
This November, almost 150 people slept under the stars in Norwich and Ipswich so far raising almost £40,000 at Sleep Out events organised by our charity. We work to prevent youth homelessness in Norfolk and Suffolk and held our annual Norwich and Ipswich Sleep Out at Norwich City and Ipswich Town Football Clubs. The events challenged people to spend one night sleeping outside so young people don’t have to.
An estimated 121,000 young people faced homelessness in the UK last year (source: Centrepoint). We provide a safe home and support to over 180 local vulnerable young people in Norfolk and Suffolk each night. We support them 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, while building their resilience and self-esteem.
This vital work gives local vulnerable young people stability, new opportunities and prevents the local street homelessness problem from growing. 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 while being an important fundraiser for our charity.
Suffolk based WS Training Limited had a team of eleven taking part in this year’s Ipswich Sleep Out.
Catherine Garnham, one of the WS Training Ltd team said: “We work with 16-24 year olds, many of whom are vulnerable so this is an issue close to our hearts. It’s something we always try to understand but we haven’t experienced homelessness ourselves. It’s great to raise money for an amazing charity to help local vulnerable young people. We’ve raised over £2,800 so far. We are very proud.”
Saffron Housing Trust was one of the teams taking part in Norwich Sleep Out. So far they have raised over £850. CEO James Francis said: “As an organisation, like The Benjamin Foundation we play an important role in preventing people becoming homeless, and having ten colleagues participating in this evening’s Sleep Out is our small way of raising awareness of the challenges many young people face today.”
James continues: “When you are fortunate enough to have a nice home to sleep in, getting just a sample of what it might be like to not have that foundation in life is a real eye-opener.”
Donna Williamson was taking part in her first Sleep Out for The Benjamin Foundation in Norwich. She said: “I’ve always supported charities. I can’t imagine any of my children sleeping on the streets. One night doesn’t put me out. It’s a really good experience and it always amazes me what people do for charity. Along with colleagues, I’ve raised over £300.”
We are passionate about being able to give more local young people the right help at the right time, especially with challenges caused by the pandemic.
“Money raised at Sleep Out enables us to do even more to help local vulnerable young people when they need us the most, supporting them to create the building blocks to successful, independent living. This has a huge impact on local young lives.” Sleep Out Event Manager, Jessica Glover explains.
We are 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 November to help support young people to lead successful, independent lives.
Jessica continues: “After being unable to hold Sleep Out in 2020 due to the pandemic, we were thrilled to have brought our much-loved Sleep Out back to Norwich and Ipswich this year and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who spent one night outside and to all those who supported the events to help more local young people to finally feel hopeful of a better future.”
So far, Sleep Out has raised almost £40,000. If you would like to make a contribution to support local young people, please make a donation here with ‘Sleep Out’ in your donation message.
In addition to all the businesses and individuals who took part in Norwich and Ipswich Sleep Out 2021, we would like to thank the following for their donations, support and help: Norwich City Football Club, Ipswich Town Football Club, Rapid Relief Team Ipswich, Sweeney’s Removals, Green Farm Coffee, Archer’s Butchers, Erpingham House, Morrisons, Escaping Today, The Benjamin Foundation Norwich Furniture Store, The High Sheriffs of Norfolk and Suffolk, all of our volunteers and colleagues who helped on the night, and everybody else who supported Sleep Out in some way