Exeter sleeps easy

Exeter residents join the homeless for YMCA’s Sleep Easy event.

charity Exeter exeter student homeless

Locals came to understand the true meaning of a ‘rough night on the town’ as Exeter was the latest city to take part in the YMCA’s Sleep Easy event and was a huge success, being named the ‘UK’s biggest’ rough sleeping event

Since it was first held in 2011, the size and popularity of the event has quadrupled, with this year seeing around 200 participants taking to Exeter’s streets to experience sleeping rough.

Chris Greenall-one of Exeter’s regular street-sleepers

Statistics from Exeter City Council reveal that 23 people were sleeping on the streets in October 2013, which is the 11th highest number of rough sleepers for any local authority area outside London.

However despite this statistic, the number of people sleeping rough in Exeter fell by 30% last year.

First year English student Emily Harris said: “It makes me feel incredibly lucky but I find it not shocking, but concerning, that in such an affluent place as Exeter there seems to be little advertised help or charity for these people.”

“I mean, whenever I’m on a night out, I see some of the same people on the streets, in the same place, week in and out. They seem truly trapped by their situation”

To think, most of us complained our student houses were cold…

Sophie Hodge, the organiser of the event said: “We’re really thrilled… The evening was great: people really learned a lot and had a good time. The night was quite a challenge. People found it quite an eye opening, but also a positive experience.”

Participants had to face awful conditions as they were battered by temperatures close to freezing, rain and even a blaring shop alarm at around 5am… Less than ideal.

Still, a whopping £20,017 was raised for the YMCA’s charity work with the young homeless with hopes that funds may increase over the next few days as more sponsorship money comes in.