VOLUNTEERS supporting the YMCA charity in Teesdale will be sleeping rough tonight o raise awareness of homeless young people.

The group, which will also be joined by groups in North Tyneside and Ripon, are taking part in the national YMCA Sleep Easy Week campaign.

This year’s Teesdale event will take place in St. Mary’s Car Park, Barnard Castle, from 7pm to 7am when participants will spend the night out in card board boxes.

Registration costs £10 and participants are being asked to raise as much money as they can.

Rachel Dyne, YMCA Teesdale’s operational director, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting our Sleep Easy event at St. Mary’s Church.

“YMCAs across the country are holding Sleep Easy events at the same time to raise much-needed awareness of the plight of rough sleeping among young people."

“We know from our experience over the past 68 years that without the support we offer, many more young people would be sleeping on the streets and have less options and less chance of realising their potential.

“We are calling on the local community, old and young, to sign up to our Sleep Easy event to help us support young people in our services today and into the future. One night out can make a lifetime of difference.”

“Having completed Sleep Easy at different YMCA’s, it is a fun evening to start with but when you bed down you are hit with the realisation that it’s for one night and there are many that face the uncertainty each and every day of not knowing where they will be spending the night.”

“Sofa surfing, an unseen form of homelessness is on the rise and with the welfare reform we see homelessness increasing three fold in rural areas. The funds raised from this event will towards our youth work in Teesdale and we hope to raise enough to do some research on the levels of youth homelessness in Teesdale.”

To donate or for more information about the project contact Ms Dyne at rachel@ymcateesdale.org.uk or call 07786555095.