On Friday, 9 March, students from the University will be sleeping rough for one night as the YMCA once again hosts Cheltenham's largest annual sleep-out event. This year the University has been working closely with the organisation, thanks to the efforts of student, Kaveeta Subherwal, who has been on placement at the YMCA.
The event aims to raise awareness of homelessness and vital funds to enable YMCA Cheltenham to provide support and accommodation to some of the most vulnerable people across Cheltenham and Gloucester. Students will be joined by residents from supported housing who will share their experiences of sleeping on the streets.
Over 30 Sleep Easy events will be taking place during March as YMCA Cheltenham joins with other YMCAs across England and Wales and hundreds of people up and down the country swap their warm beds for a night in a cardboard box.
YMCA Cheltenham has organised Sleep Easy events since 2013 and so far, with the support and generosity of numerous individuals, a total of over £38,000 has been raised. Money brought in has helped YMCA Cheltenham continue and develop its support for those affected by homelessness. Providing over 50,000 bed-nights of accommodation each year, YMCA offers a full range of accommodation including affordable accommodation for young people, supported accommodation for those needing help to enable them to live independently, as well as budget guest accommodation in the town centre.
Kaveeta Subherwal, Health Community and Social Care student, said:
“Working on this project has been such a great experience for me, not only to put into practice the skills I have learnt from my course but also to help raise awareness for this cause. Events like this are so vital for supporting organisations like YMCA Cheltenham, but has also raised my own awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness in Cheltenham. It's so important to get fellow students involved as it helps prevent future prejudice against the homeless."
David Wallace, YMCA Cheltenham Chief Executive, said:
“YMCA has always worked closely with young people, and having students like Kaveeta on placement brings many benefits to the YMCA and to the student. We have been delighted with the enthusiasm and energy that Kaveeta has shown, especially with regard to Sleep Easy. We are very grateful to the local community, old and young, who have once again got behind this event to make it a great success."
To make a donation to the Sleep Easy Appeal, visit YMCA Cheltenham's website.