Scores of courageous participants swapped their warm beds for sleeping bags and tarpaulin on Friday 9 March at Derbyshire County Cricket Club. The annual ‘Sleep Easy’ event hosted by YMCA Derbyshire is now in its eighth year, but this year was more challenging than ever due to the wintery conditions.
107 individuals and representatives from local businesses and community groups braved teeming rain on one of the worst nights of the year to raise awareness of the hundreds of people who sleep rough every year, and to raise vital funds to enable YMCA Derbyshire to continue providing safe and supported accommodation for young people in our community. So far, more than £37,000 has been raised by those involved and supporters of the charity.
This year’s event was supported by Marketing Derby and Derbyshire County Cricket Club, and teams from many businesses and organisations such as Threeguru, Geldards, PwC, Santander, Derby Grammar School, On Event Production Co. took part.
Gillian Sewell, CEO YMCA Derbyshire, said: “We are humbled by the generosity of our neighbours in supporting our Safe Front Door campaign. We know from our experience that without the support we offer, many more young people would be sleeping on the streets and have less options and less chance of realising their potential. One night out can make a lifetime of difference.”
After Sleep Easy, many participants shared their reflections with us:
Reverend Cath Hollywell, “It was a truly memorable night, people at their very best in the very worst conditions, for the very best reasons.”
Guy Eaton, On Event Production Co., “This year at ‘On’, we thought we would get together and do something a little different to help others locally that are in need of a inspiration and a helping hand. We felt compelled to take part in this year’s Sleep Easy following a visit to YMCA Derbyshire earlier in the year, where we heard from residents about how the organisation has personally empowered them and supported them to change the direction of their journey. We’re looking forward to supporting YMCA Derbyshire with their annual Ceilidh Dinner Dance and Fundraiser in May.”
Susan Nash, Threeguru, “The entire team at Threeguru all found the experience so insightful and enriching, it definitely puts things into perspective of what many young people have to go through night on night. We imagine our experience was an utter luxury compared to what the homeless have to actually go through. The team are all so excited at the prospect that the money we have raised will go towards helping people, if only one person then the experience has been worthwhile.”
Lindsey Hatfield, Marketing Derby, “The morning after the YMCA Derbyshire Sleep Easy 2018 is the same as last year for me, more emotional than the actual night. Must admit I shed a tear climbing into my bed at 7 this morning after a freezing wet night thinking about the people on our streets this morning having to. Thank you to the team at YMCA Derbyshire who work so hard to make a difference to young people at risk of becoming homeless #heros.”
Colette McHugh, Santander, “It’s wet, it’s cold and it’s miserable but I’m still smiling seeing how much we’ve raised for a truly amazing cause. Thank you so much YMCA Derbyshire.”
With the help of local businesses, schools and individual volunteers, the funds raised from last year’s Sleep Easy has allowed us to help people just like Chloe: “I joined the YMCA after getting away from an abusive situation. My life is a lot more different now – in a good way. I have experienced a lot of help from staff here and some of the most significant experiences I have had is access to therapy and support. The YMCA has helped me a lot in terms of self-esteem and confidence; I believe in myself a bit more and that I can do everyday tasks on my own and effectively, as well as things outside my comfort zone. For the future I am hoping to finish university with a good degree and settle into a good career with lots of new friends.”
Sarah Crane, Fundraising and Communications Manager, commented on the impact of this year’s event, “The fundraising for the night is still being collected and the total is yet to be confirmed, however we are so grateful for the sponsorship that we’ve received so far. All of the funds raised go directly to enable YMCA Derbyshire to continue providing safe accommodation, opportunities for young people to engage in positive activities, work experience and volunteer opportunities.”