More than £30,000 raised at Sleep Out

More than £30,000 has already been raised for The Benjamin Foundation, with more money still coming in, following their biggest ever fundraising event.
On Friday, November 17, a record-breaking 125 people braved freezing conditions as they took part in the largest annual Norwich Sleep Out in Norwich.
Chris Elliott, marketing and fundraising manager, said: “We are humbled by the number of people who gave up their Friday night to brave freezing conditions and join us at this year’s Norwich Sleep Out. We are also absolutely delighted at the amount that has already been raised and we would like to thank everyone not only for taking part but for all your hard work in getting friends and family to sponsor you.
“This money will help the vulnerable young adults living with us in practical ways such as providing some essential food items when they arrive with us; helping fund training courses and then buying items like toasters, kettles and crockery when the young people move into their own place.”
The event is part of a national Sleep Out initiative for the End Youth Homelessness campaign. There are 14 Sleep Out events taking place across the UK and the expectation is that over 2000 people will take part and collectively raise over a million pounds. The Sleep Outs aim to give those participating a taste of what it feels like to be homeless, as well as raising much-needed funds to tackle homelessness. All funds raised at the Norwich Sleep Out will go towards the work The Benjamin Foundation does in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Chris said: “In today’s climate of funding cuts and political uncertainty, fundraising has become more important than ever if we are to continue the work we do in this region.”
Martina (Tina) Maguire and Gary Johnson (below) have taken part for all three years of the Norwich Sleep Out. Tina said: “Believe it or not I enjoyed doing it but I would be petrified if I was homeless and sleeping on the street. You realise that cities never sleep.”
Gary explained that he supports the event because 10 years ago his son had mental health issues and was referred to The Benjamin Foundation. He said: “There’s an assumption about homelessness. People don’t look at what is behind it. Sometimes people just need a leg up, some support and a kind word.” Gary’s son is now happily married with a job and a home of his own. He adds : “If it wasn’t for The Benjamin Foundation it could have been a different story. I do this to give back.”
One of the biggest supporters of this year’s Norwich Sleep Out was law firm Mills & Reeve (below left), who brought 27 people, including senior partner Justin Ripman, his wife and his three grown-up children, one of whom travelled from London to take part.

North Walsham students to spend freezing night outside

Up to 100 North Walsham High students are set to brave freezing temperatures to highlight the plight of the homeless and raise money for local and international charities,  spending a under the stars on their school playing field.

They are mounting their Freeze Over on Friday, when temperatures are set to drop close to freezing, according to weather forecasters.

The students will be raising money for four charities – Cromer Foodbank, which provides emergency food supplies for people in crisis; The Benjamin Foundation, which provides a range of services and support to people across the county; The Children’s Acute Transport Service, which takes the skills of a paediatric intensive care unit on the road to the bedside of critically ill children throughout East Anglia; and Save the Children.

“The idea for the Freeze Over came from a group of students who are working to achieve their Duke of Edinburgh Award, and it has really caught the imagination,” explained Daniel Mullen, head of geography at the school, who is co-ordinating the sleep-out. The students wanted to get a sense of what it feels like to be out in the cold, and by choosing December to undertake this challenge, they are certainly going to get that.”

Year 9 student Holly Edens, one of those who dreamed up the idea, said: “We were learning in geography about different people’s situations, and how bad it could be to be homeless – and we wanted to do something to help. Lots of other students were well up for joining in, so we now have around 100 who are going to spend the night on the school field.”

Fellow student Amelia Hennigan added: “We are all excited about it, although I don’t think we will be getting much sleep.  I have only ever camped in my back garden before, so this will be a completely new experience.”

Twenty-eight staff from the school have volunteered to be on hand to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the students.

As well as raising awareness of the plight of homeless people, the students are being sponsored, and hope to raise around £2,500 to be split between the four charities.

 NWHS students Holly Edens (left) and Amelia Hennigan get ready to spend a freezing night under the stars.

NWHS students Holly Edens (left) and Amelia Hennigan get ready to spend a freezing night under the stars.

Sleep Out to help homeless people

The Benjamin Foundation is calling on people to get involved with their biggest fundraising event of the year – Norwich Sleep Out 2016.

The challenge of spending a night sleeping outside gives an insight into the issue homelessness and money is raised through sponsorship.

Building on last year’s success where 70 people took part, the target this year is for 150 people to get involved.  The main event will take place at Marsh on Queens Road in Norwich on Friday, November 11, from 7pm until 7am the next day.  Additionally, for the first time, people are also invited to organise their own, separate, Do Your Own Sleep Out, which can take place any time during November.

Norwich Sleep Out, now in its second year, is part of the End Youth Homelessness Campaign which is supported by a network of UK regional charities.  More than £17,000 was raised for The Benjamin Foundation thanks to Sleep Out last year, all of which has been used locally by the charity.

Chris Elliott, marketing and fundraising manager at The Benjamin Foundation, said: “As well as our main event, this year we’re excited to give people the chance to take part in a new way.  Do Your Own Sleep Out is a really flexible way for anyone to be involved, including children. Families might want do this in their garden, schools could plan a Sleep Out in the school hall or playground; clubs like Brownies or Scouts could perhaps dedicate a camp night as a Do Your Own Sleep Out.  It’s up to each individual group, as to where and when they’d like to do it.  There are lots of possibilities.”

Find out all the details at  The Twitter hashtag for the night is #TBFSleepOut and people can share photos from their event on Facebook ‘The Benjamin Foundation’, Twitter @CharityTBF and email them to


All money raised will go to The Benjamin Foundation, which helps thousands of local people each year.  The charity delivers services in Norfolk and more recently into Suffolk, providing services that give people hope, stability, opportunity and independence.  To take part in the main event, there is a £25 registration fee and at least a further £100 needs to be raised via sponsorship.

For more information and to register for Norwich Sleep Out, visit or contact Chris Elliott on or 01603 886 933.

Just regional editor Gay Webster will be wrapping up warm to take part on November 11. She said: “It’s a small way of finding out what some people have to go through every night and a chance to raise some money for a great cause. If you want to give me a few quid to help, you can find me here.”

 Chris Elliott, DonnaTomlinson & Joanna Storey at last year's event

Chris Elliott, Donna Tomlin & Joanna Storey all ready for this year’s event.