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Could you cope sleeping rough on the streets of Ipswich?

PUBLISHED: 17:38 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:19 24 March 2019

People taking part in the 2018 Ipswich Sleep Out at Birketts in Princes Street. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATION

People taking part in the 2018 Ipswich Sleep Out at Birketts in Princes Street. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATION

BENJAMIN FOUNDATION

Being outside in the freezing cold, with just a sleeping bag and a cardboard mat for company, might not sound like an ideal night out.

People taking part in the 2018 Ipswich Sleep Out at Birketts in Princes Street. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATIONPeople taking part in the 2018 Ipswich Sleep Out at Birketts in Princes Street. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATION

But one charity is calling for people across Ipswich to sleep rough for a night to raise awareness of the devastating issue of homelessness.

Just months after its last Ipswich Sleep Out, the Benjamin Foundation has confirmed the event will return later this year for its third outing.

Law firm Birketts has again agreed to host the event at the car park at its offices in Princes Street on Friday, November 1.

Money raised will go towards the work the Benjamin Foundation does in Suffolk, including at its accommodation centres for vulnerable young adults in Stowmarket and Ipswich.

People taking part in the 2018 Ipswich Sleep Out at Birketts in Princes Street. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATIONPeople taking part in the 2018 Ipswich Sleep Out at Birketts in Princes Street. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATION

The approximately £7,000 raised from the 2018 Ipswich Sleep Out will go towards essential items such as clothing and bedding, as well as practical items like counselling and training courses for young people.

But it is also hoped the event will give participants a greater understanding of what it is like to be homeless.

Chris Elliott, marketing and fundraising manager for the Benjamin Foundation, said: “We help people across Suffolk to deal with some of the challenges that life throws at them.

“Our work brings hope, opportunity, stability and independence to the people we support.”

He added: “The consistent bit of feedback we’ve had about the Sleep Out is that it just opens people’s eyes.

“Even though our event is not the complete reality, you realise how little sleep you get and how cold it is - even when you’re well prepared.

“You realise that doing two or three nights of that, you’d be in a pretty grim place.

“We’re creating that deeper awareness of the issue.”

Nigel Farthing, partner and sponsor of the corporate social responsibility committee at Birketts, said: “We’re delighted to lend our support to The Benjamin Foundation’s Sleep Out for a second year.

“The number of people that are homeless across Norfolk and Suffolk is disturbing.

“Events like this are crucial in order to raise awareness and much-needed funds if we are to try and tackle the problem of homelessness in our region.

“We encourage the local community to register for Ipswich Sleep Out 2019 to make a difference to local lives during The Benjamin Foundation’s 25th anniversary year.” To sign up for the 2019 Sleep Out, see here.

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