On Friday 9th March Norwich School pupils joined forces with YMCA Norfolk for their annual 'Sleep Easy' event. 12 intrepid L6 formers, taking part in the YMCA Sleepeasy, spent the night in the pouring rain, with nothing more than a tarpaulin to shelter them.
Their spirits remained irrepressible: when warned about the gallons of water which had collected above his head, Harry Peachment merely opened one eye, thanked his peers for their concern and went back to sleep. Ellie Pitcher, Ellie Hipper, and Emily Rash showed great initiative by actually sleeping in the bag racks – which they reported the next morning to be surprisingly comfortable. Eliza Barclay admitted that she nearly came in to shelter in the refectory when it really started to pour, but remembered that ‘some people have no choice and have to do it all the time’ and so stayed outside. Miss Boyt and Mr Plater would like to thank these pupils, as well as Lakshana Puvanachandra, Kieran Gheyi, James Hill, Jemma Luck, Morgan Hardy, Josh Gilmour and James Hollinger, who also took part, for their enthusiasm, humour and good spirits throughout. The Charities Committee would also like to thank the Refectory staff, who arrived at 6am on Saturday morning to cook us a much needed fry up and also thank you to the caretaking staff who were so supportive in helping set up the event.
'Sleep Easy' is an event which aims to raise awareness and understanding of homelessness, as well as to raise much needed funds for the YMCA Norfolk. Participants choose to give up their bed for one night, brave the cold and sleep in a cardboard box. It is a challenging and eye-opening experience through which participants make a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people, as well as an evening of fun and activities.
1 in every 100 young people experience some form of homelessness every year. YMCA Norfolk provides a safe home and support for over 240 young people every night. YMCA believe that extra help and support concerning access to services, supporting families and providing suitable accommodation could prevent young people facing the fear of becoming homeless.
All money raised from the 'Sleep Easy' event goes towards the work of YMCA Norfolk and the supported accommodation they provide for over 240 people every night, who might otherwise be homeless.
Mr Plater said “It gave our pupils an opportunity to express concern and empathy with those less fortunate than themselves, It is clear that in Norwich rough sleeping is increasing and young people can see this. Tonight the wet weather would test anyone's fortitude but everyone here is in good spirits and has enjoyed building the shelters, it shows that people want to raise awareness."
Morgan Hardy (L6N) said: “I am here to help support and raise awareness for homeless people in Norwich. It is great that people from the community and school have joined together to do this event. I am not looking forward to sleeping on an uncomfortable floor and to the cold."
YMCA Norfolk Marketing and Fundraising Manager, Susie Knights, said: “We are really appreciative of all the support we have received, it was a tough evening with 12 solid hours of rain but everyone dealt with the challenge really well and raised some much needed funds to support vulnerable young people in our county.”