YOU Can Be Santa!


Well you can be like Santa, in that you can have a Santa outfit, and climb down buildings*.

YMCA Exeter is inviting you to abseil 80 foot dressed as Santa, to help transform the lives of homeless young people in Devon.

Where? Princesshay Car Park, Exeter

When? Saturday 6th December 2014

Who? This event is open to anyone over the age of 12. Those under 18 will need to have a parent/guardian accompany them to the event. Unfortunately pregnant women are not able to abseil.

Cost?: £15. This covers the abseil and administration costs.

Group Discount £72 per group of 6. To register as a group we require a team leader to complete the online form and we will then contact them with everything else they need to know.

Registration closes on Friday 28th November.

For more details see

*If you want to give out presents thats up to you and your pocket…

In Exeter? Fancy Getting Your Running Shoes On?

Are you in or near Exeter?
Fancy getting your running shoes to get ready for The Great West Run?

How about doing it to help someone like Hayden?

Hayden found himself rough sleeping at age 21. ‘Life before the YMCA was horrible, dark, miserable – living in a cold box or even in a tent by the river.’ Hayden has recently moved into Exeter YMCA where he’s found security and support. ‘Since I’ve been in the YMCA, my life’s got better, I’ve achieved more than I’ve ever done in my life.’ Hayden has just started a training course which will give him the qualifications he needs to fulfil his dream of becoming a gym instructor.

This year Exeter YMCA will be entering a team into the Great West Run with the goal to raise £5,000. This will ensure that another homeless young person like Hayden will get a full year’s support at Exeter YMCA.

Fancy it?

If you go for it, you’ll also receive the benefit of a discounted entry, a free personalised T-Shirt, refreshments on the day, a team cheering squad and the chance of winning some fantastic prizes.


Check out the Exeter YMCA website for further details, and to sign up.

Follow Exeter Sleepeasy on Twitter.

Well tonights the night of Exeter Sleepeasy. If everything works as it should you should be able to see what happens on Twitter below:

Sleeping in a box

Here’s a little something I wrote a couple of years back. Please forgive if some of it reads a little “unedited”. Most of this was written early morning, while inside a 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 some point 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.

This year Mrs Sofa, Anne Mackay is not only taking part in Sleepeasy, but also spending her first night away from Lil Sofa. She’d love it if you could sponsor a few quid to help motivate her during the early hours. You can sponsor her over at

Alternatively, do you fancy joining in?

Here’s a sample of last years event:

Find out more, and sign up at

Can we ask a favour?

rensladeTomorrow, Mrs “Adventure” Sofa is going to be abseiling down Renslade House, one of the tallest buildings in Exeter (Pictured).

Now, this would be a crazy thing to do on most days, and its still a crazy thing to do tomorrow, so why is she doing this?

Mrs Sofa is undertaking this abseil to raise money for the Exeter YMCA, and the work done to help vulnerable young people from Exeter, and around Devon.

So, we were wondering.

Would you be able to help Mrs Sofa raise money for the Exeter YMCA? If you felt able to give even a bit of money to help homeless young people this Christmas, please check out her sponsorship page at

Thank you!

Will you take a stand against youth homelessness?

church Sofa

We’ve been given some details of this years Exeter YMCA Sleepeasy event happening in the Guildhall
Shopping Centre:

Whats Sleepeasy?

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.

Whats happening?

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 Alternatively call
event organiser Tom on 01392 410530, email, or text “sleep” to 07535
463178 and Tom will call you back.

Fancy Walking Down a Building?


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?