On 3rd November, over 60 local sixth form students gave up their Friday night to raise funds for YMCA Bournemouth and raise awareness of local homelessness by building cardboard box shelters in the grounds of Lytchett Minster School and sleeping outside for the night. The event raised over £3000!
The participants, Lytchett students aged between 16 and 18, sought sponsorship from family and friends before spending the evening creating their shelters – made from boxes donated by The Big Yellow Self Storage Company – taking part in quizzes and keeping themselves warm through exercises, eating croissants donated by Tesco and pizza donated by Domino’s.
Prizes were awarded for the best shelter and the winning teams, led by Millie Murray-Brown and Katie Harrison, were presented with Domino’s vouchers. Thank you gifts including Primark vouchers and driving lessons from New Driver School of Motoring were also on offer for the star fundraisers, the winner emerging as 18-year-old Rhiannon Weaver who raised over £250!
“The event’s been a lot of fun,” said 16-year-old participants Sophie Read, Georgia Spring and Lizzy Woods. “We don’t usually see much in the news about homelessness but we see a lot of it in Bournemouth. It makes you feel bad for them and very lucky that it isn’t you.”
The students were eventually driven inside by torrential rain but all involved were delighted to have taken part. Headmaster Andrew Mead said: “The students got a real understanding of how brutal it must be to sleep rough and be exposed to the elements. What they would not have gleaned is just how lonely, scary and alienating it must be for people who have nowhere to call home. I am very grateful to YMCA Bournemouth for inspiring our young people to take part in this very worthwhile exercise. They will never forget it.”
Since the YMCA Sleep Easy events began in 2010, almost £1 million has been raised by hundreds of people across the UK. Meanwhile, the number of rough sleepers of all ages continues to rise as the affordability and availability of housing continues to decline.
Our Deputy Director Mark Inkpen commented: “We are incredibly grateful to the students and teachers of Lytchett Minster School. Such generosity of spirit makes a huge difference to our ability to help tackle homelessness in the local area.”
We continue to focus on providing short-term supported housing for vulnerable people and then equipping those residents with the skills they require to achieve, or return to, independent living. Last year, we kept 229 people safe from homelessness.