The group at Leigh Road Baptist Church (LRBC) bedded down in the gardens of the church with nothing to house them but a cardboard box and a sleeping bag.
It was done in partnership with local children’s charity, Southend YMC, as a pilot for its fundraising campaign Sleep Easy in Churches
. The group raised more than £2,000 towards developing Southend YMCA’s housing provision, in particular, move-on services for its residents preparing to leave supported accommodation.
Steve Tinning, Associate Minister at Leigh Road Baptist Church, said, 'It was wonderful to see the young people of Leigh Road Baptist Church demonstrate how faith can be exercised in this practical and compassionate way.
'Their initiative and prayer showed a desperate concern for local young people, their age, who face homelessness on a daily basis – and partnering with the YMCA, who work tirelessly to alleviate the desperation these young people face, was a real privilege.'
The event was planned and delivered by the youngsters, giving them valid fundraising, PR and event management experience and the chance to help those less fortunate then themselves.
LRBC youth group member Michael Willcock, 17, said, 'When we heard that Southend YMCA were doing something about youth homelessness in Southend, we wanted to see how we could help. The Sleep Easy in Churches fundraiser is our response; to raise awareness, funds and make a difference to those our age, but less fortunate.”
The YMCA described the group as "an incredible group of young people from the church", with Sleep Easy Coordinator Tom Moulton adding, 'The young members of the congregation at Leigh Road Baptist Church have been a testament to the kind-hearted, responsible and philanthropic youth in our community.
'Their hard work and dedication has made a lasting impact in Southend, helping to bring an empty property back into use for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people at risk of homelessness.'
To view the fundraising page, visit https://www.justgiving.com/leighroadsleepeasy2014/