RESIDENTS have helped to raise £9,000 for YMCA Bournemouth by sleeping on the streets.

More than 80 people took part in the event to raise money and awareness of the charity and those who sleep rough every night.

Those who took part made their own cardboard beds and camped out for the evening.

The event was supported by Bournemouth University.

Ian Jones, head of regional community partnerships, said: “The university are delighted to be involved and raise awareness of the ongoing homeless issues in our town.”

It formed part of a national YMCA Sleep Easy initiative that saw 16 YMCA organisations come together over a fortnight.

The money raised will be used to support YMCA Bournemouth’s services to homeless people. They offer safe places to stay and the support needed for eventual independent living.

Jackie Weeden, YMCA Bournemouth executive director, said: “This was the second time we held a Sleep Easy event and we’re thrilled that it was once again a great success. I’d like to thank everyone who took part and spent the night out with us.

“Thanks to your support we can now help even more people than before and support them to realise their full potential. One night out can make a lifetime difference.”

The Mayor of Bournemouth councillor Eddie Coope spoke to those taking part.

One of the participants, Samantha Colmer, said: “Sleeping rough for a night was a life changing experience for me. You can never truly understand how difficult it is being young and homeless, unless you experience even a fraction of what it’s like sleeping out.

“I see homeless people all the time around where I live and to pull together as a community and make people aware of the issue is an achievement let alone raising an amazing amount of money.”

The Mayor of Bournemouth added: “This is a great way of raising awareness about the issue of homelessness and I’m amazed at the great work that YMCA does which will continue thanks to everyone sleeping out tonight.”

YMCA Bournemouth has thanked the support of local businesses including Domino’s Bournemouth, Creams Café, Salvation Army and Tesco. The event was also supported by students of Bournemouth University, BU Marketing Society and BU Nerve Radio.