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Could you survive sleeping rough on the streets of Ipswich?

The 2019 Ipswich Sleep Out, organised by the Benjamin Foundation, will raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in the town. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATION

The 2019 Ipswich Sleep Out, organised by the Benjamin Foundation, will raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in the town. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATION

Archant

Most of us couldn't even begin to imagine how we would cope if forced to sleep rough on the streets of Ipswich.

The 2019 Ipswich Sleep Out, organised by the Benjamin Foundation, will raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in the town. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATIONThe 2019 Ipswich Sleep Out, organised by the Benjamin Foundation, will raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in the town. Picture: BENJAMIN FOUNDATION

But a group of hardy volunteers are preparing to do just that to learn the destitution that the town's homeless people face night after night.

The Benjamin Foundation is holding its third Sleep Out in Suffolk's county town on Friday, November 1, with the event taking place in the car park of Birketts in Princes Street.

The charity, which provides a home and support to more than 100 vulnerable young people in the area every night, believes the evening will allow more people to truly understand the difficulties homeless people face.

However the event will also raise money for the charity, which runs accommodation centres in Ipswich and Stowmarket and has a network of "hosts" who are trained to look after young people at risk of homelessness.

Levels of rough sleeping in Ipswich reduced dramatically last winter after a multipronged attack by groups including Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich Housing Action Group (IHAG) to tackle the problem.

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However homelessness campaigners in the town have since warned they fear that 'sofa surfing', where people without a home rely on staying with friends, is rising.

Luvuyo Mfazwe, multi service manager for the Benjamin Foundation's Suffolk housing and homelessness service has taken part in all of the Ipswich Sleep Out events to date.

"It inspires me to see people from all walks of life coming together for a common good," he said.

"Everyone who takes part empathises with homeless people. It almost acknowledges the fact that at any given moment it could happen to any of us."

The Benjamin Foundation's marketing and fundraising manager, Chris Elliott, said: "We help young people in 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.

"The Benjamin Foundation celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, so we hope that more people than never will feel inspired, and get involved with Ipswich Sleep Out 2019 to raise money to shape better futures for vulnerable young people in Suffolk."

To sign up, visit the website.

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