MORE than £12,000 has already been handed to Burton YMCA by volunteers who took part in its third annual Sleepout event.
Altogether, a record 120 people ‘slept rough’ on November 9 in the stands of Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium in order to raise funds to help the town’s homeless, while drawing attention to increasing demands on homelessness services.
Participants included Burton MP Andrew Griffiths, Burton Albion chairman and Burton YMCA president Ben Robinson, and teams of employees from organisations including Thomas Alleyne School, in Uttoxeter, Holy Trinity Primary School, in Burton, Drakelow-based engineering firm Roger Bullivant and the Waterstone’s distribution centre on Burton’s Centrum 100 business park.
Twelve ‘extreme’ participants also spent the night exposed to the elements in the churchyard of St Modwen’s Church, in Burton’s Market Place, instead of at the Pirelli Stadium.
Paul Laffey, chief executive at Burton YMCA, said: “The money from the sleepout always takes a little time to come in.
Last year, we raised a total of around £22,000 so, with about 80 people yet to hand in their fund-raising, we very much hope that we will beat that figure in 2012.
“Once again, our sincere thanks go out to everyone who took part in the sleepout or who sponsored a volunteer. This has been one of our most successful events ever and, at a time when demands on our services are increasing, we are indebted to the people of Burton.”
Previous sleep-outs helped to fund the YMCA’s Reconnect Centre, in James Street, Burton, which opened in 2011 and provides emergency short-stay accommodation, training and support for homeless people in Burton.
The YMCA also runs family mediation and supported housing projects in the town aimed at the homeless. All of these are partially funded by partner organisations but also rely on donations.
Mr Laffey added: “We are very fortunate in Burton to have a number of excellent facilities that provide help for the homeless and the opportunity for them to get back on their feet.
“However, funding these facilities means that we have to raise money continually and the sleep-out is one of the key ways in which we are able to do this.”
The charity recently won four awards in recognition of the work that it undertakes with the local community and further afield.
At an annual meeting of the Midlands region YMCAs in Lincoln, the Burton group was awarded International Development Award, Youth Participation Award, Outstanding Contribution Award and Most Involved YMCA Award for 2012.
Recipients of the awards are nominated and agreed by young people who use the services of YMCAs across the Midlands.