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Brighton Journal | 6th April 2020

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‘Sleep Easy’: Sleep Out to help the homeless

‘Sleep Easy’: Sleep Out to help the homeless
Hannah Midgley

YMCA DownsLink Group is holding a ‘Sleep Easy’ Sleep Out on Friday the 22nd of March to raise awareness about homelessness in Brighton.

The Sleep Out will be taking place in the grounds of Brighton and Hove Sixth Form College (BHASVIC), where participants will spend a night with just cardboard and sleeping bags to protect them against the elements. Students from the University of Sussex’s Help the Homeless Society are planning to enter a team again this year and face another potentially bitterly cold night to raise money for YMCA DownsLink Group.

Shannon Phillips who is studying Ecology and is President of the Help the Homeless Society at The University of Sussex described her experience last year and the importance of Sleep Easy:

“Participating in Sleep Easy last year definitely made all of us realise how truly uncomfortable rough sleeping can be. Whilst it was a really fun evening for us to be involved in, I had never been more grateful that I was able to go home to a warm dry house and bed. Unfortunately, some people are not so lucky. The YMCA does amazing work and Sleep Easy is a very successful way to raise vital funds and awareness.”

Shannon Phillip

The charity’s work includes many important support systems for young people, including accommodation, general advice, sexual exploitation, mental health, housing advice, counselling, mentoring, alternative education and apprenticeships. 

Chas Walker, Chief Executive of YMCA DownsLink Group, has explained that the charity is very grateful to have university students joining for the night and that it is essential that as many people as possible get involved to help raise money and awareness for homeless and vulnerable young people.

Sleep Easy has been a real success in previous years, and has raised vital funds and spread awareness about the increasing level of homelessness in Brighton. The YMCA hopes that even more people can be involved this year.

“We’re looking for local companies and individuals to get involved. We would love to hear from anyone interested in taking part.  It won’t be warm or comfortable, and it’s not a true taste of homelessness, but it’s certainly a thought-provoking experience. I encourage anyone with a concern for the homeless to sign up and raise money to make a difference.” 

Chas Walker, Chief Executive of YMCA DownsLink Group

Last year YMCA DLG provided a home for more than 900 young people across West Surrey and East and West Sussex who would otherwise have been homeless. However, adequate funding is to support these young people is a constant challenge. This Sleep Easy event means that money is available to support local young people in finding a way out of homelessness.

A volunteer who took part in Sleep Easy last year said that “It was a really eye-opening experience. It made me think about things I hadn’t even considered before about sleeping rough. The work YMCA do is indispensable.”

If you think that you could give up one night of comfort, to create a lifetime of difference for a young person please sign up here.

Last Years Sleep Easy in Brighton and Hove

To find out more please visit

Featured image:
© Alan Light

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