YMCA Exeter saw over 160 people sign up to the first virtual Sleep Easy event on Friday 19th February. The week-long event provided free activities and a focus throughout half-term for families during lockdown and culminated in a big sleepover on the Friday night.
The virtual event invited children and young people to swap their beds for bathtubs, sofas or garden tents for one night and encouraged them to think about the challenges and wider issues of homelessness. Whilst fundraising was a minor part of the event, over £10,500 raised and will go towards delivering much needed support for YMCA Exeter residents and homeless young people.
Exeter-based Tina Lawton said:
“12 hours with three young kids in a tent… what could go wrong? We had a blast. We set up the JustGiving page because we wanted to donate some money but we were shocked that in a few days, a group of our friends and family had donated around £150! There are not many things our young family can get up to during lockdown, but last night we had a blast. Thank you!”
Gareth Sorsby, YMCA Exeter Joint Chief Executive, said:
“We were thrilled to see how our virtual Sleep Easy event reached such a broad and young audience this year. Not only have parents thanked us for providing fun and laughter throughout lockdown, but also for giving their children and young people a focus beyond themselves. A chance to think about what it is like to be homeless.
“It’s so important for us to be having these conversations with our children and young people, helping to educate and tackle negative perceptions around homelessness. We look forward to running similar events in the future.”
Every year YMCA Exeter provides supported accommodation for young people coming out of homelessness and needing the support of a loving community to move forward. If you think that YMCA Exeter might be a good option for you, or someone you know, then you can get in touch with us. Find somewhere to live.