Could you sleep rough for one night?
Because some people in Dartford don’t have a choice, YMCA Thames Gateway is calling on local people to come together and take part in their 10th anniversary Sleep Easy fundraiser to support local, homeless young people.
The Dartford based charity is hosting this event in partnership with Dartford Churches Winter Shelter on Friday 8 March. The event will be held in Dartford’s Central Park from 7pm until the early hours of the following morning.
It is hoped that this year’s sleep out will raise even more funds as the numbers of rough sleepers of all ages continues to rise and pressures mount on the housing market. YMCA Thames Gateway is one of 133 local YMCAs in England and Wales that, together, support more than 200,000 young people every year.
Brian Cooke, Director of Housing for YMCA Thames Gateway said: “With homelessness now at an all-time high and spreading well beyond traditional city heartlands, we are calling on the local community, old and young, to sign up for the event to help us provide more young people with a safe and welcoming place to realise their potential.
This will be the third sleep out for the leader of Dartford Borough Council, Councillor Jeremy Kite. He said: “There are many reasons why people find themselves in housing crisis and whilst I don’t pretend to know what all the answers might be, I do know that the problem has been with us for too long and that great local communities have a part to play.
This will be the third time I’ve taken part in the YMCA event and if it helps raise the profile of both the issue and the great people working to tackle it then I’m very pleased to do it again. Like many people, I am fortunate to be able to make a choice to sleep rough for a single night but there isn’t a moment during the event when you don’t reflect on those for whom there is no option.”
YMCA’s across the country are holding Sleep Easy events to raise much needed awareness of the plight of rough sleeping among young people. All funds raised will be split equally between the YMCA and Dartford Churches Winter Shelter.
To find out more or register for Sleep Easy visit https://ymcatg.org/get-involved/sleepeasy2019/
The Vitality Big Half is an inclusive mass participation event which aims to cater for runners of all abilities, including those with disabilities. This half marathon starts at Tower Bridge and finishes in Greenwich, passing through the boroughs of Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Greenwich.
Michael is already in training for the challenge, steadily increasing his training schedule so that he is in peak condition for the event. He is entering into the event as one of the 12 day chair entrants.
Michael’s journey hasn’t been without its challenges. Back in 2008, aged just 17, he was struck down with an unknown virus that left him paralysed from the chest down and with a severe visual impairment. Michael had to adjust to life in a wheelchair and in order to build up his upper body strength and general fitness joined YMCA Thames Gateway’s gym. He became a familiar face in the gym and recognising his true grit and determination, staff recommended Michael for gym instructor training through InstructAbility, a bespoke programme designed to engage disabled people in the fitness industry.
Since then Michael has overcome his physical limitations and has gone from strength to strength. Discovering a passion for fitness, Michael has since qualified as a personal trainer and level 3 fitness instructor. He is also involved in and leads on para-sports activities; sports for young people with disabilities and leads activities such as wheelchair basketball. The Big Half is a first for Michael, whose long term ambition is to take part in the London Marathon.
Michael wants to give something back to his local YMCA and is using the challenge to fundraise for YMCA Thames Gateway. He said “I love to challenge myself, so why not take up a challenge to raise funds for an organisation that gave me my first opportunity in life since becoming wheelchair bound, and support the work they do.”
Michael is one of YMCA’s true advocates and has gone above and beyond to support YMCATG in the past. In 2015 he slept out on a freezing cold February night and raised over £1k for the charity. He also took part in Parallel London, an inclusive 10k push around the Olympic Park in 2016.
Please show your support by sponsoring Michael. To donate and find out more visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MichaelJellyMead