A charity is challenging people to swap their comfortable bed for a night sleeping outdoors in Bedford in a cardboard box.
The YMCA Bedfordshire is running its second Sleep Easy event where people can sleep “rough” to raise funds and get a brief insight into what it is like to be homeless.
The charity’s youth participation co-ordinator, Dele Johnson, said while it is a serious issue, the event will be lighthearted and fun.
He said: “People will get their own cardboard box to sleep in outdoors. They should bring sleeping bags and duvets and lots of warm clothing, including hats, socks and jackets.
“They should also bring materials to decorate the box such as wrapping paper, stickers and pens. We will be running a best box competition!”
The night will also see quizzes, games and a keep-warm work out led by a gym instructor.
YMCA Bedfordshire helps support homeless people aged between 16 and 30 by providing up to two years supported accommodation. It can house up to 80 people in its three hostels and offer emotional and financial support.
Mr Johnson recognises the event is far removed from the reality of being homeless but hopes it will raise awareness of the issue.
He said: “We are hoping people will put themselves in the shoes of the people using our services and get an understanding of how people become homeless.
“There is a misconception it is down to drugs, or it is deliberate but the truth is in the current economic climate it could happen to anyone. Just three months unemployment might be enough for a person to lose their home.”
For a donation, anyone over 16 can take part in the Sleep Easy event, at Bedford Sixth Form College, Bromham Road, from 7pm to 7am, on Friday, February 28. Booking is essential. For more information go to www.ymcabedfordshire.org.uk/sleepeasy