Well, we’ve mentioned it a few times now, and tonights the night that The Church Sofa Lads sleep out as part of the Exeter YMCA Sleepeasy event. You can keep an eye on the tweets from and about the event below:
Check out sleepeasyexeter.org.uk for further information.
We’ve been given some details of this years Exeter YMCA Sleepeasy event happening in the Guildhall
Sleep Easy is a national event that YMCA’s up and down the country will be participating in. Last
year over £200,000 was raised by over 1,500 brave participants. The Exeter event, now in its third
year, calls on members of the community to spend ‘one night sleeping rough, so others don’t have to’
and this year Exeter YMCA is hoping to attract its largest number of participants yet.
Exeter YMCA is calling for people to take a stand against youth homelessness by joining up to
500 others for the biggest ever sponsored sleep out event in the charity’s 20 year history. Since its
opening in September 1993, Exeter YMCA has accommodated and supported over 500 homeless
young people. On average a young person stays at the YMCA for a year, giving them time,
with the right support, to overcome the issues that led to their homelessness and build positive
Exeter YMCA’s event organiser, Tom Wyatt, says: “It would be wonderful to have 500 members
of the public sleep out with us and also quite symbolic – as it would represent really closely the
number of homeless people we have housed since we opened 20 years ago.”
Who is involved?
Exeter YMCA’s Community Relations Manager, Sophie Hodge, says:
“As we celebrate our 20th anniversary we would love to make our Sleep Easy event the biggest
ever! We are confident that with the support of the Exeter community we can make it happen.”
The campaign has already attracted the attention of Exeter’s business community with support
from thebestof Exeter, a local networking forum and Gilbert Stephens LLP Solicitors, who have
also selected Exeter YMCA as one of their nominated charities in 2013.
Philip Luckham, CEO for the Devon-based law firm, comments: “We are really pleased to be
supporting such a great campaign and look forward to helping drum up as many participants as
possible from our extensive network of professional contacts. We already have some interest from
staff members and we hope the event will help bring the issue of homelessness in the region to the
forefront of people’s minds.”
The event will not only raise awareness of youth homelessness in Devon but will also help raise
vital sponsorship to continue Exeter YMCA’s work providing 15,000 nights of accommodation and
support a year to homeless young people in Devon.
Dave Barr from thebestof Exeter says:
“I will be sleeping out with the YMCA because I want to make a difference in the lives of young
people who have had the worst possible start in life. I’m hoping that many small local businesses
will join me.”
Any other details?
The event will start at 8pm on Saturday 16th March and finish at 7am the next day. Teas and coffees will be available
throughout the night to keep people warm.
For more information or to register online, visit www.sleepeasyexeter.org.uk. Alternatively call
event organiser Tom on 01392 410530, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or text “sleep” to 07535
463178 and Tom will call you back.
Well, around a year ago, a number of events were set in motion. A church notice here, a pub conversation there, and before we knew it, both Church Sofa lads found themselves at the Exeter YMCA Sleepeasy event. The YMCA sleepeasy events are to help fight against homelessness, by having the participants raise money by sleeping in cardboard boxes for a night. Whilst one of us didn’t bother trying to sleep, the other found themselves climbing inside a cardboard box for the night.
The following post from last year was started in a cardboard box:
It’s approaching two in the morning of the YMCA Sleepeasy event, and I’m tired. Yet I didn’t really fancy the idea of bed. Maybe it was the light, maybe the noise, perhaps it was the idea of trying to clamber into my “house” that you can see on the right hand side.
So, I kick off my boots, lean down, drag my sleeping bag out, just to see my loving crafted house fall to pieces on me. Leaving the bigger box standing, feeling uninspired to start again I wiggle into place. I lay down, very aware of the concrete underneath, shuffling around trying to blot out the light in front of me, leaning to my side… I’m aware of a church tower somewhere chiming that its two in the morning.It was at this point that I realised, that I was now more awake than I was when this whole box thing started. More photos were taken, tweets were read, web pages scanned, and I opened my eyes again.Before I knew it, that church tower was chiming for three o’clock.At somepoint after three I went back to sleep “properly”. At somepoint I closed my eyes, and drifted off.
It was at 4:49 when I woke up. Rain thundering down on the shelter over us, my nose well and truly blocked up, and very aware I was in a cardboard box.
Very awake, very aware I was in a cardboard box, and oddly angry at the injustice of people needing to wake up like this. As I was laying there wondering what to do between actually getting up, and having breakfast, I wondered how we all got into a state where we accepted the fact that people have no choice but sleep rough on our streets, scared and sleep deprived, simply existing from one moment to the next
It all made me wonder how long I could survive on naff all sleep, spending my time waiting for something to happen.
Look, I’m not going to say that the SleepEasy event was anything really like sleeping rough for any length of time: For starters we were secure, we had people awake and watching over us, bacon rolls, there was a shelter over our heads, and we knew that no matter how long the night was, we had a home to go back to.
If you get a chance, look out for SleepEasy events next year, and have a sample of what it’s like waking up in a box.
That was last year. This year its happening again! Can you join us to sleep under the stars and help raise funds to support Exeter YMCA’s work with young people?
According to the Exeter YMCA website: Music and other entertainment during the evening will make sure you have a great time and food and hot drinks will be available. All you need to do is make sure you’re well wrapped up!
We ask everybody to do their best to raise a minimum of £50 – most people raise much more. All funds raised will go towards Exeter YMCA’s vital work providing 15,000 nights’ accommodation and support each year to homeless young people in Devon. We don’t pretend this will give you a real rough sleeping experience (after all you will be entertained, fed and kept safe), but we do promise you a night you will remember for a long time. And your efforts will make a real difference to the lives of homeless young people in Devon.
So are you up for getting your own cardboard box memories?
Check out sleepeasyexeter.org.uk for more information
Do you fancy enjoying a unique view of Exeter?
Do you like the idea of looking like Santa?
Do you want to help make a difference this Christmas?
Well, an opportunity has opened up for you to take in the beautiful sights of The River Exe in Exeter, Devon from 100ft up. Join dozens of Santas on Saturday 8th December as they abseil down the @Renslade offices in aid of helping Exeter YMCA tackle youth homelessness across Devon.
So. Are you up for helping to tackle youth homelessness in Exeter, while having a good laugh at the same time? Check out the Exeter YMCA website for more information.
ALSO, The Church Sofa Lads have decided to help out by doing the MAN thing and… deciding to sit back and watch “Mrs Sofa” (aka Anne) as she abseils down what to be honest… is a massive building. I’m sure if will encourage her more then we ever would if you could sponsor her over at her Just Giving page. Obviously if you wanted to keep her company on the jouney down, I’m sure that would also be amazing if you also signed up!
See you there?
Sophie over at exeterymca.org.uk has been looking forward to their 20th anniversary celebrations:
I feel that as Britons we have had a lot of reason to celebrate in 2012; we have hosted the Olympics, celebrated a Royal Wedding and witnessed a Golden Jubilee. Reflecting on these events has made me realise how good celebrations are at raising profile, recognising importance and acknowledging success.
Take the Olympics for example. In the run up to that event the spotlight was on sport like never before. Even as a relatively un-sporty person I couldn’t help but get swept up in the sport mania that embraced Britain. Personally it made an impact. I have taken up running and even joined a running club. Similarly, the Olympics gave us a unique opportunity to assert the importance of sport in British life. Whether it was through building brand new, state-of-the-art sports facilities or through the numerous funds which have been set up to get Britain active, the importance of sport has been reiterated through politics, media and celebrities time and time again. Finally, what a fantastic opportunity the Olympics gave us to acknowledge the determination and success of countless sports men and women from a huge range of sporting disciplines.
So what are my hopes for our year of celebration in 2013? Well I am not going to pretend that our anniversary will be anything like on the same scale as the Olympics or the Royal Wedding and Jubilee. However, I hope that it will achieve some similar outcomes. I hope that through our anniversary celebrations we will be able to put the spotlight on youth homelessness…
To read more about the plans for the Exeter YMCA 20th anniversary celebration, check out the blog over at exeterymca.org.uk
As long standing readers of The Church Sofa could have possibly figured, “Team Sofa” are supporters of the work undertaken by the Exeter YMCA. We’ve been asked to pass onto you the following invitation to an event in Exeter:
Sunday 18th November is Prisoner’s Sunday, a national day of prayer.
To mark the occasion, Exeter YMCA is putting on a ‘Prayer for Transformation’ prayer meeting in HMP Exeter Chapel 4-5.30pm. We invite you to join with us as we pray for our prisoners.
Over the last year, Exeter YMCA has seen tremendous times of breakthrough within their Prison Project – which ministers to over 150 prisoners every year. Join us on Prisoner Sunday to pray for transformation within our local prisons; HMP Exeter, HMP Channings Wood and HMP Dartmoor – that His Kingdom may come!
Please note that all those intending to attend the prayer service must let me know by Monday 11th November, so I can inform the prison of who to expect. Please RSVP via email or phone 01392 410530. The address of HMP Exeter is: 30 New North Road, Exeter EX4 4EX.
Find out more about The Exeter YMCA here.