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Dartford sleep out raises money for youth charity

PUBLISHED: 15:56 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:02 23 March 2018

Fergus Ross, Head of Marcomms and Dave Ball, CEO for YMCA Thames Gateway. Picture: YMCA Thames Gateway

Fergus Ross, Head of Marcomms and Dave Ball, CEO for YMCA Thames Gateway. Picture: YMCA Thames Gateway

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Local people slept rough in freezing conditions last week, (Friday, March 16) at Dartford’s Central Park, to raise money for YMCA Thames Gateway.

Jeremy Kite MBE, Leader of the council and lead member, Avtar Sandhu, MBE. Picture: YMCA Thames GatewayJeremy Kite MBE, Leader of the council and lead member, Avtar Sandhu, MBE. Picture: YMCA Thames Gateway

The fundraiser was part of a national YMCA Sleep Easy Week, which saw YMCAs across the country come together over seven days to promote their work.

More than 20 people took part at Dartford, including leader of Dartford Council, cllr Jeremy Kite MBE and lead member, Cllr Avtar Sandhu.

Paricipants each paid an entry fee of £10, sleeping on DIY cardboard beds, and in total around £3,000 was raised for the local youth charity.

The evening was launched by Mayor of Dartford, Cllr Rosanna Currans, who also judged the Box Factor competition, where participants competed for the most creative cardboard box.

The fundraiser was part of a national YMCA Sleep Easy Week. Picture: YMCAThe fundraiser was part of a national YMCA Sleep Easy Week. Picture: YMCA

Dave Ball, YMCA Thames Gateway’s Chief Executive, said: “Thanks to the support of the local community we can now help even more young people than before and support them to realise their full potential.

“One night out can make a lifetime of difference.”

Having operated in the area for more than 130 years, services provided by YMCA Thames Gateway include supported housing, nurseries and pre-schools, a café and meetings rooms for hire, as well as charity shops across the borough.

Aleesha Passfield and her son George, 14, both took part in the event.

Aleesha said: “I only slept out for one night and with food in my belly and access to WC facilities.

“How people live like this day after day is beyond belief.”

“During the night my sleeping bag zip broke and it was freezing - the wind, rain and sleet were relentless.

“The floor was damp and we couldn’t get in a good position to sleep.”

Aleesha said despite the conditions, her and George were never going to give up.

She added: “I finally slept from around 4 till 6 am.

“Not an experience I want to do on a daily basis but I am glad we did, we met some amazing people and made a difference to the YMCA and homeless people.”

In total the pair have raised a staggering £1290 so far.

YMCA will be hosting its next free Easter activity session for children aged 0 - 7 years old on March 29.

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