Local people helped to raise £7,200 for YMCA East Surrey at a local fundraising event last weekend that saw them sleep out for the night at the Innes Pavilion in Horley.
More than 50 people took part at the event on Friday 8 March, helping to raise money but also awareness of the work of the local youth charity. Participants braved the wind and rain to sleep on DIY cardboard beds.
It was all part of a national YMCA Sleep Easy Week that saw YMCAs across the country come together over seven days to promote their work with young people.
The fundraising total is set to rise with two further linked events still to be held by staff and pupils at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School and East Surrey College and will be used to provide employment support to the young people who access YMCA East Surrey’s housing services.
Lee Fabry, YMCA East Surrey’s Head of Housing, said: “We’re thrilled about the success of Sleep Easy and are extremely grateful to everyone who took part and spent the night out with us, in some far from comfortable conditions.”
“Thanks to your kindness we can now help even more young people than before and support them to realise their potential. One night out can make a lifetime of difference.”
Taking part, were a team of local Councillors, staff from local companies Stocksigns and Plan Insurance, individuals, YMCA staff and residents from the YMCA’s Hillbrook House. Top fundraiser was Martin Turner, who raised a huge £1,300. Singers from Redhill based choir, inChoir, entertained the Challenge group as the evening began.
Local Conservative MP, Cllr Frank Kelly, warned the Challenge participants that it was likely to be a tough night: “When you get up tomorrow morning, tired and aching, with all of your clothes and blankets soaked through, you will truly appreciate what it must be like to do it day after day after day.”
Soraia Miranda is 29 years old and took part in the Sleep Easy event. She said: “I have slept rough myself, between the ages of 16 and 17 and I’ve had family members who have had to do the same. It’s so hard and you feel incredibly lonely. You can never truly understand how difficult it is being young and homeless, unless you experience even a fraction of what it’s like sleeping out.”
“YMCA East Surrey gave me a support network and it feels like I am part of a family again. We all look out for each other.”