A team of 35 people from Taylor Wimpey swapped the comfort of their own homes for a night spent in sleeping bags and cardboard boxes at the first ever nationwide Sleep Out held in conjunction with St Edmunds Society, a charity working with young people to develop their skills for work.
On Thursday, Taylor Wimpey East Anglia staff joined over 70 ‘sleepers’ for the event held at the housebuilder’s NR1 development in Geoffrey Watling Way, Norwich, in a bid to raise much-needed funds for homeless and vulnerable young people.
Managing director Bryn Maidman and regional sales and marketing director Stacy Dornan were among those taking part.
Commenting on the experience, Stacy said: “We’re in the business of building houses, and having a safe and warm place to go home to at the end of the day is something the majority of us take for granted.
“We only had to spend one night sleeping rough, but this is the reality that thousands of young homeless people face on a regular basis, making the work that charities like St Edmunds Society and Centrepoint do to help them absolutely crucial.”
St Edmunds Society provides an alternative to mainstream education to help individuals gain practical new skills in the hope of improving their employability and securing their futures.
Stacy added: “Centrepoint is Taylor Wimpey’s chosen national charity and we work closely with St Edmunds Society as the organisation’s partnership charity in the East Anglia region so we were keen to be involved with this fundraising initiative.
“Taking part in Sleep Out has given us an insight into what homeless youngsters must experience, which makes us even more committed to supporting the fantastic work these charities do.”
Lorraine Bliss, St Edmunds Society Chief Executive, said: “Sleep Out is unique. Not only does it raise an amazing amount of money, it raises the issue of youth homelessness and preventative issues and gives a glimpse of what it’s like to sleep out on the cold streets, not having a job or any prospects of gaining meaningful employment.
“In Norwich, young people are doing this every night without the protection of security, a canopy keeping the rain off and hundreds of friends supporting them.
“We are extremely grateful to Taylor Wimpey and everyone who took part in the Sleep Out. Their support enables us to give young people the help they need to live an independent and positive life. We are proud to be part of the first national Sleep Out and to bring this message home to so many people across the UK.”
The hard-hitting event was held in partnership with organisations across the country, including Centrepoint. Eight cities, including London and Norwich, hosted their own Sleep Out 2012 events and it is the first time that a national Sleep Out on this scale has ever been held.
All the Sleep Out events took place last night to raise awareness of youth homelessness, as well as vital funds for the charities involved. Together, the organisations aim to raise £500,000 nationally, and by joining forces they want to shine a spotlight on the issue of youth homelessness today.
To make a donation visit http://www.justgiving.com/NR1SleepOut and for further information on St Edmunds Society visit www.st-eds.org.