CHURCHGOERS will sleep rough to raise funds to keep children and young people off the streets.

Members of Leigh Road Baptist Church will sleep rough with just sleeping bags and cardboard boxes for protection to raise money for Southend YMCA on Friday, July 11.

Young members of the congregation have arranged the sleep out, which will take place in the church gardens, in Marguerite Drive.

The Southend-based charity has organised several “sleep easy” events, but this is the first at a church.

Youth group member Michael Willcock, 16, said: “When we heard that Southend YMCA was doing something about youth homelessness in Southend, we wanted to see howwe 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.”

Money raised will go towards providing flats for young people at risk of homelessness.

TomMoulton, sleep easy coordinator for the YMCA, said: “We are incredibly moved by the support we’ve received from our community and Leigh Road Baptist Church have been a testament to this goodwill.

“The fantastic thing about sleep easy is the participants can really see the fruits of their labour; with many fundraising events you never truly get to see what your hard work goes towards, but with sleep easy they can see something physical, bricks and mortar, leaving a lasting legacy in the form of new housing for truly vulnerable young people.”