Sleeping rough to help the homeless
TWO Beverley community stalwarts are preparing to sleep rough to highlight the plight of homeless people.
East Riding councillor David Elvidge and Ali Crompton, of Beverley Community Church are supporting the YMCA's Sleep Easy charity event.
They are hoping to raise awareness of youth homelessness and raise funds to support young people living in poverty and at risk of homelessness.
But they admit they signed up for the challenge, which takes place on the night of Friday, February 1, before the cold snap brought freezing temperatures and snow on the ground.
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Cllr Elvidge, a former mayor of Beverley who is also chairman of armed forces charity SSAFA Forces Help East Yorkshire, said: "It covers a lot of what I'm involved with. It's a worthwhile project so I've signed up.
"Maybe some people will pour scorn on it that we'll not really be sleeping rough because we'll have a nice warm bed the following night but I think it's an important gesture.
"Historically we've had issues with people sleeping rough. It's not a modern thing, it's been going on forever.
"There are issues with ex-servicemen who fall through the system and finish up sleeping rough."
Cllr Elvidge said East Riding Council is working hard at addressing the problem of sofa surfing in Beverley. That is where people, mainly young people, have no fixed address but move around, staying with different friends.
Across the UK homelessness services are experiencing an increase in demand for the support they offer. Homelessness in England has increased by about a fifth in the last year.
Families across the country are struggling to pay their household fuel bills, rent and mortgages.
For this year's Sleep Easy event, the Humber Region YMCA has partnered with other East Riding organisations – Beverley Community Church and St Mark's Church Bridlington.
Together, these partners are exploring how funds raised by Sleep Easy can be used locally to strengthen vital work with rough sleepers and young people at risk of homelessness.
Mr Crompton said: "The YMCA is an organisation I'm close to.
"I know people who work there and I know people who work in Hull where it's a big issue.
"They are doing great work in Hull but there are also issues in Beverley and the East Riding."