This year's Diocesan Lent Appeal has raised awareness of homelessness and the work of the YMCA Downslink, especially with Anglican churches said Lucy McGrath, YMCA's Lead chaplain based in Hove. Lucy was full of praise for the way in which the diocese has responded to its biggest annual fundraising event - the Sleep Easy 2017 which took place on Friday 24 March in the YMCA car park in Hove.
She said: "We valued your support on so many levels – and the fact that YMCA DownsLink group is the chosen charity for the Diocesan Lent Appeal will really help us on an ongoing basis to build relationships with Anglican churches in the Diocese." She added: "We are running at over £30,000 raised in total with gift aid and hopeful that more will come in over the next few days."
The event was opened by the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Peter West.
The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner and Archdeacon of Brighton and Lewes, Martin Lloyd Williams joined around 50 others sleeping out for the night in Hove. YMCA reported that over 100 were sleeping out in total in other parts of Sussex and Surrey including Horsham and Guildford.
Bishop Martin offered a prayer and blessing at the event. He said: “It was great to be part of the Sleep Easy event on Friday. It taught me how little we understand about the vulnerability, discomfort, and indignity of homelessness and sleeping rough, and how terrifyingly easy it is to end up with no other option.
“On the positive side, it was an opportunity to see the amazing commitment of the YMCA team, and the enthusiasm of supporters for raising awareness and raising funds to tackle homelessness among young people. And for our one night out under the stars, we had the best tarmac hospitality.”
Archdeacon Martin said:"The night was dry and cold, the atmosphere was excitable and nervy, the organisation was exemplary and all fifty of us were gathered for a great cause. I did feel rather apprehensive beforehand but I shouldn't have worried. This tiny taste of outdoors improvised sleeping on cardboard and a wooden pallet was scarcely exposure to the trauma of the real thing, but hopefully, the profile of homelessness was raised a bit, and a good sum of money was given to a very worthwhile cause."
The target for the Sleep Easy is £40K - if you would like to donate now, please go to the Diocese (YMCA) Lent Appeal Justgiving page here and you can donate as an individual or as a group. If you prefer to go directly to YMCA contact Lucy McGrath - Lucy.McGrath@ymcadlg.org