YMCA DownsLink Group’s Sleep Easy Sleepout took place in March at three locations in Horsham, Guildford and Hove, involving around 50 people who ‘slept rough’ for the night to raise vital funds and awareness of youth homelessness.
The event has raised a grand total of £20,100 which will be used to support YMCA projects in Brighton, Horsham and Guildford that will have a positive impact on the lives of many young people.
Located south of Horsham and alongside the DownsLink Route which gave its name to this YMCA, the village of Partridge Green is home to seven ladies who took up the challenge to sleep rough.
One of the group, Kate Coppock, volunteers as a mentor for YMCA DLG and also works one to one with some of their residents to develop cooking skills etc.
She invited her friends to either sponsor her to sleep out or to join in – and remarkably six of them joined her!
Kate says, “I know the work YMCA DLG does and really wanted to support it, and couldn’t have been more surprised when so many said they’d sleep out too. It wasn’t an easy night – not too cold but with the threat of rain we were under tarpaulin, and it felt quite claustrophobic. But we did it! And the support and encouragement shown to us by friends and family has been pretty overwhelming.”
The group of friends are also regular customers at the Partridge Green Village Café.
This meets once a month in the village’s Methodist Church, and is run by volunteers from St Michael’s Church and the Weald Community Church in Cowfold. The Café customers raised a generous £150 to add to the amount already raised by Sleep Easy. Café committee member Rowena Murray says: “The cafe provides a place for all ages to meet and where anyone can afford to come. We ask for donations so people can give as much or as little as they like. All profits are given away and to date we have given over £2000 to a range of local organisations.
“The donation to YMCA DownsLink Group is in addition to our normal quarterly donation due to the generosity of our customers. We have come to know Kate and her friends through the café and were in awe of their decision to sleep rough on a cold March night! This donation is in recognition of their dedication and because the cause is such a great one. We all have teenagers or young adult children so we can appreciate how hard it must be for young people who end up homeless or on the streets and how important the work of YMCA DLG is.”
Although Sleep Easy is over for this year, donations are still welcome. Cheques can be sent to YMCA DownsLink Group, YMCA Guildford, Bridge Street, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4SB.