20 March 2020
A resourceful charity is showing resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic by switching its ‘sleepout’ event to a ‘sofa surf’.
The Sleep Easy event at Sutton Coldfield’s Gracechurch Centre was meant to be YMCA Sutton Coldfield’s biggest event of the year.
Instead of asking participants to sleep out, the charity is now urging them to send the night on their sofas in a virtual event dubbed the ‘YMCA Sofa Surf’.
This move not only keeps participants safe but also serves to raise awareness about hidden homelessness which is particularly prevalent among young homeless people.
Anita Ellis (pictured) from YMCA Sutton Coldfield said: “With so much support and sponsorship already pledged for the event, we didn’t want to let participants and supporters down. It’s times like this that we have to be resourceful and to pull together as a community.
“We had previously toyed with the idea of a sofa surf in addition to the sleep out for people who couldn’t sleep out, but who still wanted to support the event. This felt like the perfect time to try this approach.
“We’ve had a really positive response to the change and we’re already seeing an increase in numbers, so we’re hoping that even more businesses and Chamber members will follow suit.”
Anna Plotnek, of main sponsor PLOTT Creative, said: “We love the creative twist for the event. It’s key to be adaptable in any business crisis and find workarounds. We will all take part and even build our box tower at home and live stream our efforts.”
As part of the virtual event, Emily Rose, Staffordshire Poet laureate, will live stream her poetry performance and music duo Carrick who were headlining the event are busy recording some videos that will be played throughout the evening.
MC Pete Morgan from Monkey Pants Productions will also be getting involved.
Katie Hale, president of the Sutton Coldfield Chamber, said: “This is a fantastic example of resilience in tough times, it’s time to be creative, support each other and keep going.”
People can get involved using the hashtag #YMCASofaSurf and you can sign-up to the event at ymcasc.org.uk.
The Sofa Surf takes place on Friday 27 March.