Young people get a glimpse at homelessness with Sleep Easy event in Bury St Edmunds

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Members of a Bury St Edmunds youth group have experienced the discomfort of sleeping rough in aid of the YMCA’s Sleep Easy project.

Southgate Church’s Liquid Youth Group braved the elements by sleeping on cardboard boxes under the stars on Friday - in the hope of raising £500 to help change the lives of vulnerable young people.

Organiser Alison Burgess said: “The Sleep Easy was far from easy but it gave the young people a small glimpse of what it was like to be homeless and to sleep out on the streets.

“The cold and wet weather was a challenge, as were the feelings of vulnerability and of not really feeling wanted.

“It was a challenging and eye opening experience which helped the young people to understand the level of desperation that has been reached to make people sleep rough - homelessness is something that goes on all the time but we don’t generally think about why it is happening or the implications it has on individuals and their communities.”

Cllr Sarah Stamp visited the group on Saturday morning to congratulate them on taking part.

She said: “It was a particularly cold night and they did incredibly well to stay outside for the whole thing with just cardboard boxes as shelter.

“Talking to those who took part afterwards, it is clear that the whole experience had an enormous impact on them and they were far more empathetic of the plight faced by those forced to sleep on the streets than they were before.

“I was impressed by their maturity and empathy, not to mention their excellent fund-raising.”

To donate to the project, call Southgate Church on 01284 703705 or email southgatechurch.org.uk