The 2018 YMCA North Tyneside Sleep Easy was set to go ahead over a month ago in March, however, Mother Nature had different ideas. With the onslaught of the ‘Beast from the East’ and then the subsequent ‘Mini-Beast from the East’ creating havoc across the country, we made the tough decision to press the pause button and rearrange the date.
The event went ahead a few days ago on the 27th April.
This year 30 people came together with their cardboard shelters to brave the cold and raise awareness of the growing issue of youth homelessness in North Tyneside while raising money for our supported accommodation.
Our participants braved the cold and slept out in a brand new and very special location in North Shields. St Cuthbert’s Primary School very kindly allowed us to use their wonderful Roundhouse garden. We are incredibly proud to say that the amount raised is currently sitting at £3164.76 – with donations still coming in. We expect to have raised over £5000 by the time all monies are in and counted. We are absolutely thrilled with the generosity and support that has been shown this year.
The school garden provided a unique and magical setting for the event. YMCA staff spent some time setting up shelters, setting up a PA system, warming up soup from YMCA Café, setting up delicious hot drinks from Tynemouth Coffee Company and hanging fairy lights, which were very kindly lent to us by Whitley Bay Community Carnival.
An amazing selection of hot burritos were delivered by the fantastic staff at Zapatista. They were generously paid for by Proper Food and Drinks Festival and filled everyone’s tummies. The campfire, which was fuelled by Percy Hudson Timber Yard and F.E Maughans, provided an opportunity for everyone to come together and get to know each other a little more.
One of the main highlights of the evening was having the opportunity to hear the very talented Brittany Farrow sing for us. Not only did Brittany take part in Sleep Easy, but she is also part of YMCA North Tyneside’s new project at YMCA Music Studios – Standing Upright. It was wonderful to hear her explain how YMCA had helped her gain the confidence to peruse music, and how she is working towards achieving her dream of using music to help others.
We all mucked in and helped each other to set up sleeping areas for the night. Cardboard boxes, plastic sheeting, ground covering and the sleeping bags people had brought with them were constructed into shelters. We were very lucky with the weather and the full moon helped provide a little extra light throughout the evening.
David Burn, who took part with his 11-year-old daughter Elle said,
“My daughter and I had recently visited London where homelessness was so apparent. It was heartbreaking and we promised to do something about it, together. Having organisations like YMCA North Tyneside on our doorstep shouldn’t be taken for granted, and the Sleep Easy event was a perfect way for us to get involved. It was amazing to meet so many like-minded people who care as much as we do about helping people. We genuinely came away feeling like we had gained more than we gave. We’ll definitely be getting involved in more events to help them continue the work they do for us and our community.”
Together David and Elle have raised a phenomenal £1000 towards the event.
Everyone lasted the chilly night in their shelters and when the sun came up they were greeted with fresh coffee from Tynemouth Coffee Company and bacon sandwiches from Warburtons and North Shields Quality Butchers.
As well as a fantastic team from Warburtons, JGS Consulting and many of our staff, we were very lucky to have been joined by Councillor Cath Davies. Cath participated in the event as part of her ongoing commitment to raise money for YMCA North Tyneside.
Events like Sleep Easy are bringing communities together and raising much-needed money and awareness, we are creating a platform for genuine change by supporting those that are so often unseen and unheard.
Our CEO Dean Titterton said,
“We are really appreciative of all the support we have received, it was a rewarding but tough/cold evening but everyone dealt with the challenge really well and raised some much needed funds to support vulnerable young people in North Tyneside. Last year, a young person was made homeless every hour in England and hundreds of young people spent at least one night on the streets.
The whole experience was a significant eye opener to all who took place in the challenge. It was thought provoking for many, from start to finish, particularly as participants thoughts focused on themselves popping home for a warm shower and cosy warm day at home. Whereas, those with no home have no choice to do that.
As CEO of YMCA North Tyneside I am really appreciative for the community led response to rough sleeping. We are so thankful for the great work of all those involved.“
There is still plenty of time to donate to our Just Giving page HERE. Or if you would like to make a cash donation, please do so at our main reception.
We hope you enjoy looking through a selection of the photographs from the evening which were taken by Eliza Lawson and by Sleep Easy Participant David Burn.
Sleep Easy 2018 Gallery
We would like to extend huge thanks to the following people and companies, without whom, this event would not have been the success it was.
Counsellor Cath Davis, David Hodgson MBE, F.E Maughan Ltd, JGS Consulting, North Shields Quality Butchers, Percy Hudson Ltd, Proper Food and Drinks Festival, St Cuthberts Primary School, Tynemouth Coffee Company, Warburtons, YMCA Café and Training Kitchen, Zapatista