Sleep easy will return to Lincoln Cathedral on Friday 25th March after a year’s absence. The event raises essential funds for the YMCA and increases awareness for homelessness.

Back for its 12th year, the event, which runs from 7pm to 7am the next morning, will give participants an idea of what it is like to spend a night on the streets. Given materials by the YMCA, it is then up to participants to build a suitable shelter for the sleep out.

The significance of this event comes against the backdrop of worrying reports coming from the City of Lincoln Council. In a housing report delivered by the Portfolio Holder for Quality Housing at the City of Lincoln Council, Donald Nannestad, it was reported that the Council “have, at this time, unprecedented numbers of homelessness applications”.

The event will run from 7pm to 7am on Friday 25 March outside Lincoln Cathedral | Photo: Lincs YMCA

Furthermore, of the people that approached the Council as homeless this year, their housing solutions team were able to prevent 43% from becoming homeless. In his report, Cllr Nannestad says this is because of a particular pressure as a result of the availability of suitable move-on accommodation and general needs housing in both council stock and in private sector housing.

Communications and PR officer at YMCA Lincolnshire, Michael Callander, explained where the money raised from the event will go. He said: “The format has always been the same, but they’ve been raising money for slightly different things. In 2019 it helped to fund the completion of the Nomad Centre”.

The Nomad Centre acts as night shelter accommodation for people sleeping rough on Lincoln’s streets. It’s the only night shelter in Lincolnshire where residents don’t need a local connection to start a tenancy period. In the last year the centre has sheltered 200 people.

“This year is for raising funds for mental health and services related to that. It can be very hard to rebuild those feelings of self-worth. Here people will see what they can achieve after sleeping rough”.

“We’re anticipating 50 or 60 people will be at the event and we are thrilled with any support we get. It will all hopefully make a huge difference and show the good will of the people in the city”.

Participants in 2020, dressed for the cold! | Photo: Lincs YMCA

One of those who has regularly attended the sleep out, is Dr Craig Marsh, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the International Business School at the University of Lincoln.

He said: “I started going in 2018, it seemed to be a very nice way to raise funds and show solidarity. It’s not a comfortable experience, the last time I attended it rained all night. 80 or 90 of us started it. But by 7am, only 20 people had finished it. People just couldn’t do it. It really brings it home”.

“They (YMCA) make it very clear on what you are raising money for. They are also rehabilitating people, not just providing shelter but bringing them back into society”.

Tickets for the event are £15, which can be found on YMCA Lincolnshire’s website:

One of the YMCA’s stalls at the grounds of the Cathedral in 2020. | Photo: Lincs YMCA

Dignitaries at the last Sleep Easy chipping in with food for those taking part. | Photo: Lincs YMCA

The then-Mayor Sue Birke holding food for the Sleep Easy participants in 2020 | Photo: Lincs YMCA