Norwich’s annual Sleep Out returns

Norwich’s Sleep Out 2018 will return to Carrow Road on 18 November. The event, run in coordination with the Benjamin Foundation, seeks to encourage Norwich’s community to raise funds to support the homeless by spending the night on the streets.

Last year’s event, which took place in the car park of the Eastern Daily Press, raised a record £39,000 for the cause.

Participants will spend the night in Carrow Road’s car park, and with winter vastly approaching it will see them open to the elements in order to get a small taste of the hardship experienced by an estimated 307,000 rough sleepers in the UK.

The Benjamin Foundation specifically seeks to meet the needs of those aged 16-25, of which there are estimated to be 83,000, with the aim of providing supported accommodation centres to young people experiencing homeless or those at a high risk of doing so.

Additionally, the foundation aims to provide essential skills to young people who have been referred by their local authorities, helping their education and training, finding a job and developing life skills such as cooking and budgeting their money.

In order to secure an adequate amount of supplies for the event, The Benjamin Foundation ask people to pay a registration fee of £25.00 plus £1.49 admin fee, through Eventbrite, in order to book their place. They also ask that those participating fundraise a minimum of £100.00 in sponsorship for the event.

Following through with Norwich’s reputation for being one of the leading cities in the UK to support the homeless, many local cafes and coffee shops will be supplying hot drinks and food, to show their support of the event.

One of these coffee shops is an independent coffee house based in city centre called Aroma, who regularly give out food they don’t sell in an effort to reduce waste.

A fundraiser from last year’s event and editor of the Eastern Daily Press, David Powles said: ‘When you go into it you kind of imagine it’s going to be easy. Actually as the night unfolds it gets harder and harder.

‘It surprised me how quiet it got, how cold it got, and how lonely it got very quickly, despite the fact you know you’ve got 120 people around you. It really does make you think about the people who have to do this every single day. That would be a real challenge mentally and physically.’

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Rebekah Woolmer

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August 2021
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