MORE than 60 sixth form students spent a night sleeping in their school grounds to raise awareness of the work of YMCA Bournemouth.

The Sleep Easy event took place at Lytchett Minster School from 7pm on Friday until 8am on Saturday.

The students, aged between 16 and 18, raised money through sponsorship before spending a night sleeping on cardboard in the school grounds.

They kept warm by building cardboard shelters with boxes from The Big Yellow Self Storage Company, while eating pizza courtesy of Dominos, competing for prizes and listening to music.

Since the YMCA Sleep Easy events began in 2010, almost £1 million has been raised by hundreds of people across the UK. The charity hopes that this autumn’s event will help them raise even more funds, as the number of rough sleepers of all ages continues to rise with the affordability and availability of housing continuing to decline.

YMCA Bournemouth focuses on providing short-term supported housing for vulnerable people and then equipping those residents with the skills they require to achieve or return to independent living. Last year, the charity kept 229 people safe from homelessness.

Laura Booker, the coordinating teacher at Lytchett Minster School, said: “We felt that this would be a great event to hold at our school as we have a sixth form that is passionate about raising awareness and money for local community projects.

“Our students see homeless people out on the streets when they visit Bournemouth town centre, and many are not much older than they are. We really wanted to ensure that this issue is brought to the local community’s attention.”

Anyone who wishes to support the pupils’ efforts can make a donation at