14:34 Thursday 05 December 2013

More warm beds for the homeless after YMCA Sleep-out

Written byHELEN KREFT

BURTON YMCA has now raised a total of £23,000 after more than 100 people gave up their beds to sleep rough for a night.

The money will be used to increase the capacity for rough sleepers at its Reconnect Centre in James Street from the current 16 to 19, meaning significant alterations to the residential building are necessary, but hopes to raise another £10,000.

Gillian Cox, appeals coordinator at Burton YMCA said: “We could not raise this fantastic sum of money without the generous support of everyone in Burton and all of the business that support their teams. In particular our President Ben Robinson chairman of Burton Albion Football Club, and the directors who allow us to use the stands, sponsor the cardboard boxes and provide the very welcome bacon baps at 6am.

“We also would like to thank the teams from Waterstones, Burton Albion Ladies Football Club, Crescent Motors, the Salvation Army, Clinigen, Harvester, Burton Business Club, Chamber of Commerce, Orbit Housing, Dains Accountants, Chameleon School of Construction the Mayor Michael Rodgers and MP Andrew Griffiths, along with all the wonderful individuals who gave up the nice warm bed for the night to experience rough sleeping and then generously persuaded all of their family and friends to sponsor them. They make the event the success that it is and we are extremely grateful.”

Paul Laffey, chief executive at Burton YMCA, said: “Once again, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the people who took part and those who sponsored them. The fact is that our homelessness services in Burton are being placed under greater and greater strain, and this money is essential when it comes to maintaining the valuable services that we provide.

“We are seeing more and more demand for overnight places for rough sleepers in the town and this new fund-raising target would help us to increase provision.

“We are asking people to come to us with fund-raising ideas and, if they can help in no other way, to simply donate £10 to us during the run-up to Christmas by texting £10 to 70070. It is a very easy way to help out.”

The Sleep-out saw volunteers sleep rough for a night and this year took place in the stands at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium and at a local cemetery.

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