Exeter Sleep Easy 2014

Coming up in March this year, is an opportunity to sleep out under the stars in Exeter to raise money for the work that the Exeter YMCA does with homeless young people in the Exeter and Devon area.

Heres a sample of last years event.

Go to sleepeasyexeter.org.uk for further information and to sign up!

Exeter Sleepeasy on Twitter

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:


Cardboard Box Memories

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

Fancy Walking Down a Building?

abseil1

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?

Sleeping In 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.

YMCA England

Exeter YMCA

Exeter Sleepeasy

Justgiving

#YMCASleepEasy – Tonight

Well, we’ve mentioned it a few times now, and tonights the night that The Church Sofa Lads sleep out as part of the #YMCASleepEasy event. You can keep an eye on the tweets from and about the Exeter event below:


Want to join in? Send @ExeterYMCA a tweet with the hashtag #YMCAsleepeasy, and we’ll also be able to see your messages at the venue as well!

Being homeless…easy? #sleepeasyexeter

A while ago the other Andy put up a post about people watching (apparently it’s like a cool version of train spotting?!). Annoyingly the other day I found myself doing the same thing. It wasn’t so much people watching but watching an event unfold. I was waiting for a bus one evening a few weeks ago and saw a man walking up and down the street outside a well known pizza takeaway kind of place. It soon became apparent that this man was homeless, that was the first thing I heard him say. He was after some food to eat and he wanted something hot, I can’t blame him for that, it was a fairly late evening and it was freezing.

I watched for a while as he would approach people walking past, and ask if they were going to the pizza shop as he had a buy one get one free voucher he was happy to share but he only had half the money. Some people would walk past and ignore him, some saw him a little way back while he was talking to someone else and would cross the street and some would shout at him.

After a little while he came up to me and asked if I could give him some money, feeling really bad that I couldn’t help him out I had to explain that I didn’t have any spare money on me. But I did chat with him and tried to understand his situation more. I’ll be honest unless you go through the same thing you can never understand what it’s like to be homeless but hearing his story helped me see a bit of the bigger picture. He’d been homeless for over 15 years, since he was a teenager.

This car park was where he’d been sleeping and where he’d be sleeping that night. He said it made him sad that he had to break into somewhere just to be able to sleep somewhere dry. It might be drier than outside but it’s still freezing cold.

I kept talking to him and listening to his story until someone else came by, and he went off to see if they wanted to split the cost of a pizza.

It’s people like this man, that inspire in the work I do for Exeter YMCA and the church sofa lads this year are taking part in Sleepeasy 2012 to raise money for the work of Exeter YMCA with the homeless.