Hardy souls are being challenged to sleep out under the Winter night-time sky to raise money to help keep young homeless people off the streets.

The annual Sleep Easy challenge takes place this year on March 10th at the YMCA South Devon in Dartmouth Road, Paignton, when everyone is invited to sleep outside.

Using the strapline ‘Sleep out, so others don’t have to’, Sleep Easy is in aid of Nightstop, which has helped keep 37 young people aged between 16 and 25 years, all from Torbay, safe and warm.

Nightstop provides emergency, temporary accommodation for young people using volunteer hosts who provide a bed for the night until their needs can be properly assessed.

“Events like Sleep Easy are essential, especially during a time of uncertainty and impossible personal challenges,” said YMCA South Devon CEO Maria Goodwin, “The cost-of-living crisis has hit everyone differently, but our local community is incredible. They adapt and unite to help those most in need.

“We are calling on our community to continue this support for young homeless people struggling right now, to show them that together we care, that we are there for them, and to highlight the overwhelming difference this can make to people’s lives. The efforts, the awareness and the money raised from Sleep Easy events fills our hearts.

“Please join us for Sleep Easy 2023 by participating, contributing, and nominating others and to share the message that ‘one night can make a lifetime of difference’.” she added

Since it launched in December 2021, Nightstop South Devon has provided a total of 292 safe nights and as a result, 29 young people are now in supported living or are in a better position with housing. Otherwise, they would have been either homeless or sofa-surfing.

Charley Turner, the Nightstop Project Lead, recalled one 21-year-old who was found wandering the streets of Torbay at night.

“It turns out he had been taken into care at a young age. He lived with his adoptive family up until the age of 16 when he left due to being abused. He was moved to live out of the area where he became involved in the running of drugs and taking them.

“He stayed with us and bravely stayed with different hosts. This is always a huge ask of a young person who already has so much more going on. He moved onto supported living that is out of the area.

“Sadly, his story is by no means unique.” she added.

If you want more information about Sleep Easy and to register, go to the YMCA website, email [email protected], or call 01803 551578.