To raise awareness of the plight of Humberside’s homeless, and also to raise funds to provide help, Humber Resource Training’s Zak Wraith and Ian Pykett joined 95 others on Friday 2nd February for the annual Sleep Easy, braving freezing temperatures at Freshney Place car park until 6am the following morning.
How would you choose to spend the night on what is statistically the coldest week of the year? Curled up under a cosy duvet, no doubt, with the central heating on full pelt.
But for far too many people, the best they can hope for is a cardboard box in a shop doorway.
The boys were motivated to take part after reading a harrowing report which claimed that sleeping rough in our region increased by 200% in 2017.
“We could have raised money some other way, like running a marathon,” says Zak, “but by doing it this way we actually get to experience a bit of what it must be like for the homeless.”
Zak and Ian were given a list of essential kit to take with them including a sleeping bag, cardboard and a plastic sheet “plus some sticky tape so we could cobble together something that vaguely resembled a bed,” says Ian.
So how was their night’s sleep?
“Not brilliant” says Zak, “But, unlike the homeless, we all had cosy homes to go back to – a fact that we found somewhat humbling”.
Between them the boys raised in excess of £500. “Everyone at Humber Resource Training dug deep into their pockets along with many of our clients, so a huge thank you to all”, says Ian.
Since it began in 2011, the annual Sleep Easy, which is organised by YMCA Humber in partnership with local homeless charity Harbour Place and the Salvation Army, has raised more than £125,000 for Humberside homeless.
Chief Executive of the YMCA Humber, Helen Pine, says: “Sleep Easy is a national event and ours always takes place in February on what is statistically the coldest week of the year – we’re the only YMCA who’s crazy enough to do that, everyone else does it in March!”