18 March 2020

In the lead up to their biggest fundraising event of the year, local charity YMCA Sutton Coldfield is refusing to give in to COVID19, showing resilience and resourcefulness by switching their planned Sleep Easy to a Sofa Surf.

Faced with events outside their control, the charity have stepped up to the challenge and are going ahead with the event but with a creative twist. Instead of the planned sleep out at the Gracechurch Centre, the small, self-funded charity is asking participants to spend the night on their sofas in a virtual event that they are calling 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. Faced with nowhere to go, many young homeless people are not visible; sofa surfing or sleeping on a friend’s floor with no fixed place to call home.

Rather than cancel the event which has been in the planning stages for 9 months, the charity has decide to embrace the situation and keep their event going.

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.

Anita Ellis, Marketing Manager for YMCA Sutton Coldfield.

Main sponsor, PLOTT, are in full support:

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.

Anna Plotnek, Managing Director, Plott Creative

As part of the virtual event, Emily Rose, Staffordshire Poet laureate will also live stream her poetry performance and music duo Carrick who were headlining the evening 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 is particularly impressed with the charity’s efforts to diversify:

This is a fantastic example of resilience in tough times, it’s time to be creative, support each other and keep going.

Katie Hale, President, Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce.

People can get involved using the hashtag #YMCASofaSurf and you can sign-up to the event at ymcasc.org.uk.

Let’s show some support for our local charity and #keepbusinessmoving