Sleepout success for Norfolk homeless charity

Just Regional
Nov 14, 2016 3 mins read

On Friday, November 11, more than 100 people gathered in a Norwich car park to spend the night outside, raising money to help the homeless. Just Regional editor GAY WEBSTER (pictured below) joined those on the Norwich Sleep Out 2016 for the Benjamin Foundation.

Yes it was cold, but the atmosphere was warm as were all the people getting together to spend the night sleeping out for such a good cause.

They all had the same aim, to get through the night while raising as much money as they could to support homeless young people in Norwich and now Suffolk too.

Ok, it is only a tiny bit of what actual homeless people have to go through on a nightly basis. We were lucky that it didn’t rain, we had tea and coffee, we had food, we had the use of toilets at the Marsh Norwich HQ in whose car park we were sleeping. We had mobile phones and we also had homes to go back to when the event finished at 7am.

But that wasn’t really the point. The point was undergoing a bit of hardship for a night, but much more importantly raising awareness and money to help those who are affected by homelessness for whatever reason.

Chris Elliott, marketing and fundraising manager, said: “The challenge of spending a night sleeping outside gives an insight into the issue of homelessness and money is raised through sponsorship.

“We are delighted with the success of our Sleep Out 2016. More than 100 people took part each raising money to help The Benjamin Foundation and our work in Norfolk and Suffolk with homeless young adults. The event has also helped draw attention to this issue which is important. We’d like to thank everyone who took part, supported it and all who’ve donated.”

So far the event has raised more than £20,000 but donations are still coming in.

Those taking part, including networking groups and businesses as well as individuals, headed to Marsh on Queens Road from 7pm with their cardboard and thermals.

JB Postle in North Walsham supplied my packaging. Ironically one box had contained a fire surround. I like to think it helped keep me warm.

It was the second Sleep Out, which is part of the End Youth Homelessness Campaign supported by a network of UK regional charities. All money raised from the event and separate Do Your Own Sleep Out events will go directly to The Benjamin Foundation, which helps thousands of local people each year.

The community feel carried on right thought the night and some of us actually did get some sleep. Organisers were on hand all night to make sure everyone was OK and there was a visit from the SOS Bus team to check up too.

Many took to social media to boost their fundraising and let friends and family know what they were up to. It certainly helped boost sponsorship and raise awareness of the cause.

The work the Benjamin Foundation does to help young people is well worth supporting, with a short film on the night showing just how much they do and how many they have supported.

Many people will still have Virgin Money Giving pages still open for donations. Just go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com and put in the name of the person you wish to sponsor. And if you’d like to donate to mine see the link here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/GayWebster.

For more information about The Benjamin Foundation, visit www.benjaminfoundation.co.uk

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