14 August 2018

Would you spend a night under the stars to raise funds for others?

On a cold March night earlier this year, 15 brave individuals slept rough for a night to raise funds for our homelessness prevention and crisis support work. SleepEasy is a national annual event that is held in March of each year. Its main goal is to raise funds to support homeless young people accessing YMCA services and to raise awareness of the issue.

This year, 15 individuals from 4 organisations sacrificed a warm bed for a cold pavement and slept under the stars so that Newcastle’s young people didn’t have to. Participants were from; Intrinsic, Newcastle University Help the Homeless, Newcastle Gateshead NHS CCG and Savill’s. They spent the whole night out, battling through high winds, horizontal rain and even a freezing snow storm. They raised an amazing £4,700 to fund our crisis support and homelessness prevention work in Newcastle.

Since Sleepeasy, we have supported 2,465 young people from across Newcastle and Gateshead. Specifically, 401 of them required intense 1-1 crisis support and helping accessing accomodation. Crisis support can include; supporting young people who are rough sleeping, helping those suffering from mental health issues, providing support to young people who are released from prison with no money or accommodation and helping those who are escaping abuse or overcoming addiction. We provide intense 1-1 support, counselling and signpost to specialist services such as emergency hostel accommodation and rehabilitation services. We also help young people to access hardship grants and provide food, drink, clothing and a washing machine as well as unlimited access to telephones and computers to help young people overcome their personal crises.

Milly, 19, turned to SPACE2… staff in a time of great need….

Milly has recently turned 19 and first started coming to SPACE2…last year. SPACE2… was a chance for Milly to relax and see her friends outside of school.

Milly had a difficult relationship with her Mum. She admitted that this was nobody’s fault but she ended up being thrown out and having to leave home. She was suddenly on the streets with nowhere to go and spent 2 weeks rough sleeping in The City Centre.

SPACE2… staff ensured Milly had food, water and clean clothes and helped her secure access to Nightstop which offers emergency beds. Tyneside Foyer, a 60-bed hostel in Newcastle had no space at all for her, but after searching long and hard for accommodation, we found her a bed for the night in Blyth- almost an hour’s drive from SPACE2… They advised that Milly would have to be at the hostel within the next 90 minutes to access the emergency bed.

Staff booked and paid for a taxi to take Milly and her youth worker to the accommodation in Blyth and since then she has been living in supported, shared accommodation.
Milly is certain that without the help of SPACE2… staff she would still be alone and vulnerable sleeping on Newcastle’s streets with nowhere to go. The stability that a home has offered her has enabled her to concentrate on her college work and studies.

SPACE2… staff continue to stay in touch with Milly by phone and she drops in to visit SPACE2… when in Newcastle. We’ve recently supported her to access employment in a local supermarket. Milly says “without the dedication and support of my youth workers at SPACE2…. I would still be on the streets today”

This year, our amazing supporters raised over £4,500 to help young people in Newcastle overcome a significant crisis. The money raised has helped us to reach out to more young people at a time when they need it most.

If you would like to take part in your own SleepEasy event in March 2019, contact fundraising@ymcanewcastle.com.