Doing this will make you ‘demoralised, tired and hungry’ - but will help you understand a big problem

Alistair McCartney bedding down outside for the Ipswich sleep out. Picture: THE BENJAMIN FOUNDATION

Alistair McCartney bedding down outside for the Ipswich sleep out. Picture: THE BENJAMIN FOUNDATION - Credit: Archant

Sleeping rough on the streets is something we all hope to never have the misfortune to experience.

Taking part in the Ipswich sleep out in 2017, to raise money to help young people who are homeless o

Taking part in the Ipswich sleep out in 2017, to raise money to help young people who are homeless or may become homeless. Helen Brundle and Tracey Parke - Credit: Benjamin Foundation

But a charity is urging people to give up all the comforts of a warm home to sleep outside for a night, so they can better understand the plight for homeless people.

The Benjamin Foundation organised its first Ipswich Sleep Out last year to help raise money for those without a home this winter, with a similar event also held in Norwich.

It is teaming up with Birketts solicitors in Ipswich to organise a similar event on Friday, November 2 this year, with a particular focus on helping homeless people aged 16 to 25.

But as well as raising vital funds, it hopes to spread an understanding and empathy of what it is like to be homeless.

Chris Elliott, marketing and fundraising manager for the Benjamin Foundation, said: “We know from previous years that it does open people’s eyes to what it feels like to be homeless.

“It makes people look differently and feel differently about the issue.

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“Of course it’s not quite the reality because you get a hot drink at the end and you can go back to a warm home.

“But even just one night outside makes you appreciate the home comforts you’ve got.

“When we’re all going home at the end, imagine if you then had to stay outside and do it again for another night.

“It opens people’s eyes to how quickly you get demoralised, tired and hungry.

“It puts you in the shoes of someone who is homeless. Personally, how would you be able to break that cycle?

“I think it builds a community of people who understand the issue a bit more.”

Birketts will host the sleep out outside its Princes Street offices on the night.

Nigel Farthing, partner and sponsor of the corporate social responsibility committee at Birketts, said: “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.”

To register your place on the Sleep Out, visit benjaminfoundation.co.uk/ipswich-sleep-out

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