30 October 2013

More than 30 people braved the cold and the rain on Friday 25th October, spending the night in a cardboard home. Local charity First Base Walsall, part of the YMCA Black Country Group encouraged supporters “to sleep rough so others don’t have to” when it hosted its first ‘SLEEP EASY’ event, to support local homeless young people.

The event took place at Walsall Campus of Wolverhampton University, thanks to the efforts of students, First Base Walsall staff and local volunteers.

CEO of YMCA Black Country Group, Steve Clay said, “It was great to see so many people giving up their home comforts to raise funds for those less fortunate than themselves. Homelessness brings isolation and despair but community fundraising events like this can bring real hope to real people.”

Each night, YMCAs up and down the country provide rooms for around 9,000 young people who don’t have anywhere else to sleep. Sleep Easy is a national YMCA campaign

which sees politicians, celebrities and ordinary people sleeping under winter stars to raise money and awareness of youth homelessness.

The money raised from Sleep Easy goes into the Moving Forward Fund which provides help towards buying those essential items that will

make that final step in moving from supported housing into independent living a successful one.

This year, YMCA has raised over £15,000 for the Moving Forward Fund which has been able to help once-homeless people like Liam [name changed] to make a new start:

“After leaving the YMCA, I was offered a job in the fitness industry. I was unsure whether to accept the job as transport links were poor and it would cost me a lot of money to get there.

“I discussed the issue with my Key Worker who told me about the Moving Forward Fund. I was successful in my application which paid for a bicycle, which means I can now get to work, keep fit and save money at the same time!”

The YMCA holds Sleep Easy events throughout the year, to find out how you can get involved contact Grace Heeley on 01902 371 556.