Sleeping rough on a London street is something that many of our young people here at City YMCA London have experienced first-hand.
It is a sad fact that the number of young people made homeless in London has more than doubled over the last two years.
Most of them at some point had no choice but to sleep rough!
The number of young people homeless in London has more than doubled since 2011. Homeless young people find it difficult to continue in education or employment, are more likely to have alcohol and drug problems, have poor mental and physical health, more likely to self-harm, require emergency health services and face considerable barriers in accessing the care they need.
Today thousands of young people today are forced out of their family homes due to family conflict, violence and physical or sexual abuse and differences of opinions over cultural expectations.
Despite this they nurture strong aspirations and ideals and with targeted professional support and encouragement the new hostel will be able to achieve so much more for them.
Each night 201 homeless young people are housed in two hostels on the edge of the City of London and in Hackney. They stay for around nine months. Our full programme of support ensures that they are given a chance to create a future of their own choosing. As a result of our intervention most end up actively engaged in education, employment or training. Our support gets them back on their feet, able to make informed choices over their future.
SleepEasy is a national YMCA event that aims to raise awareness of the plight of at-risk young people nationally and help raise funds to allow the local YMCA respond.
For the fifth year City YMCA London will be taking our local SleepOut event onto the streets of the city with our city friends; local companies, authorities and young people themselves. It’s the most unique business networking event you will event attend!
We’re not a large event; last year 12 people raised over £13,000 to help homeless young people. The experience is sobering. Bedding down at night feels almost fun, especially after some enjoyable conversations making new friends. But waking in the middle of the night on a concrete slab soon dispels that feeling. Appreciating the vulnerability of your situation, the coldness and noise of the night, it’s sobering.
In 2017 we are partnering with LandAid in a bigger and better SleepOut event which could see a couple of hundred people choose to sleep rough for one night.
Old Spitalfields Market has generously agreed to provide the shelter of their covered market as Venue Sponsor. Even homeless people know that staying dry is vital and we’ll be no different. Old Spitalfields Market also offers the security of a dry, secure venue with gates locked from 11pm. (Unlike real homeless people, that’s something our risk assessment requires for an organised event.)
We’re also not putting on films or music to entertain, rather the long cold night will try and resemble a little of what it’s really like to sleep on a London pavement.
We have access to water and power for tea and coffee and toilets (albeit they are basic).
Up till closing time the restaurants in the market ensure that there is a passing crowd, some of whom may choose to donate.
Of course it would be great if you would choose to get your friends, family and work colleagues to sponsor, but it’s not mandatory. You are equally more welcome if you just want to experience sleeping rough for a night.
To raise funds you can:
We are holding the event on Thursday 1st March 2018 from 8pm to 7am the next day. For London participants it’s felt that a weekday night is more preferential than eating into the weekend on a Friday.
Old Spitalfields Market
Horner Square, Spitalfields, London E1 6EW