28th Oct, 2016

Homelessness charity calls on city residents to sleep rough for the night

Shaun Reynolds 17th Oct, 2016 Updated: 7 hours ago

A CITY homelessness charity is calling on Coventrians to sacrifice one night of comfort to raise funds and awareness for some of Coventry’s most vulnerable residents.

YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire will be hosting its annual ‘Sleep Easy’ fundraising event on Friday (March 3) at the Butts Park Arena.

The charity, which provides accommodation for 73 otherwise homeless young people, is seeking to raise awareness among people of what it is like to be on the streets for one night.

To help out with the event, officials at the Butts Park Arena have donated the venue for free of charge and are encouraging players, managers, sponsors and supporters to sign up and sleep rough for the night.

Participants will sleep in a cardboard box from 7pm until 7am to gain an insight into life outside.

Trained chef Jamie Grant, a member of the 2016 event, has also stepped forward offering to stock the ‘soup kitchen’ with freshly made soup.

In addition, John Kiely, chairman of Coventry Bid, and Jigsaw CCS have agreed to offer financial support and donate more than 60 wooden pallets to keep the braziers burning all night long.

Andy Winter, YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire chief executive, said: “The 2016 Sleep Easy was the most successful yet with £16,745.91 raised in just one night.

“More than 60 people slept under the canopy at Coventry Cathedral, smashing the previous fundraising total by over £10,000.

“While we can’t promise them a comfortable nights’ sleep, we can offer a glimpse into a different reality and a chance to make a real difference.

“Simply put, we sleep rough for one night so many young people can sleep safe for another.”

Participants will be provided with warm food and drinks with plenty of cardboard to make a bed to ensure everyone is kept safe, warm and in good spirits.

Lara Hunter, business development manager at Coventry Rugby said: “Coventry Rugby are entirely behind the good work that is being undertaken by the YMCA and their associates.

“When approached about the event we were immediately impressed with the success of the previous ventures that have taken place in Coventry and had no hesitation in offering our facility to support the night.

“We would encourage anyone involved with Coventry Rugby to take a look at this event and consider either taking part or offering some form of assistance.”

Visit www.ymca-cw.org.uk to find out more information about Sleep Easy and how to make a donation to the charity.