Could you face sleeping out for one night in November so a young person doesn’t have to?
Challenge yourself and help us to put youth homelessness to bed.
NI Charity, MACS Supporting Children and Young People (MACS) challenge you to give up your bed and sleep out in recognition, not replication, of youth homelessness this Winter.
MACS is a member charity of Every Youth, a UK-wide network of charities tackling youth homelessness in their local communities who work together to drive change on a national scale.
We invite you, your friends and colleagues to join us for a group event at Banana Block in Belfast. Sleep Out is a fun evening, with entertainment, snacks and hot drinks until 11pm. Afterwards you’ll begin the challenge of sleeping out.
Children over the age of 10 are welcome to take part if accompanied by a responsible adult on a maximum 2 children to 1 adult ratio.
And, if you can’t come along to Banana Block on the 23rd, we are inviting you to hold your own Sleep Out any date throughout November. Just sign up via the free registration option on Eventbrite. We’ll contact you with help and resources to arrange a Sleep Out in your own space.
MACS want to end youth homelessness!
MACS are tackling the problem locally by providing a home and/or support to almost 700 vulnerable young people across NI last year. We provide homes and access to housing but we also provide holistic support with education, health and wellbeing; training and careers, social participation in the community and ensure young people have life skills such as shopping, cooking and being able to budget their money so they can leave MACS housing and support ready to build a positive future and achieve their personal goals.
MACS deliver innovative programmes that tackle the barriers and circumstances that contribute to youth homelessness. For example, our Shared Tenancy scheme matches young people to live with others in social or private tenancies. With Every Youth’s support MACS gives young people a ‘rent deposit’ – paying deposits or rent in advance can be very prohibitive to young people trying to access the rental market. MACS helps young people work with landlords to maintain tenancies as there isn’t always a parent or guardian able to fulfil this necessary role.
In recent years we’ve been delivering our Prison Resettlement scheme and we provide two houses for unaccompanied and separated children arriving in Northern Ireland.
3800 young people present as homeless each year across Northern Ireland to the Housing Executive whilst many more are ‘sofa surfing’ or at risk of becoming homeless, so the true numbers are likely underepresented. The housing and cost of living crises are driving homelessness across all ages but young people’s journey into homelessness can involve a complex history of family conflict, abuse, relationship breakdown, self-esteem and mental health issues, generational poverty, trauma and low levels of educational attainment and employment. Once young people experience homelessness their risk of substance dependency, poor mental health, self-harm and involvement in crime increases as does their risk of becoming long-term or street homeless.
MACS’s focus is on early intervention; in helping young people build a pathway out of the homelessness cycle. We support them in regaining stability and security and progressing with their lives and ambitions.
Every single person taking part and raising money will make a difference to the lives of young people throughout Northern Ireland.
Sleep Out is not intended to replicate the experience of being homeless. It would be impossible to recreate the fear, loneliness and discomfort of not having a safe place to call home. Sleep Out does, however, provide a small glimpse into this reality. Spending a night away from your bed will likely leave you feeling uncomfortable and tired. You realise how hard it is to go to work and manage your life even when, ultimately, you know you’re safe; which is not always the case for homeless young people.
With the right opportunities and support, young people can turn their lives around and build positive futures. Thank you for making a difference to young lives!
In today’s climate of funding cuts, rising costs of living and political uncertainty, fundraising has become more important than ever if we are to continue the work MACS NI do in this region.
How to register
We ask each Banana Block participant to raise a minimum of £100 in sponsorship, in addition to the adult registration fee of £20 ( early bird £10). Children will pay a reduced fee of £5 but are still asked to raise the target of £100. Once you have filled in the fields on this Eventbrite page you will receive further instructions via email.
If you choose to ‘plan your own’ Sleep Out registration is free and we will send you a link to some fundraising tips and resources for your event and help you get started with your Just Giving site. You could Sleep Out in a tent in your garden, backyard, living room or gather a group of friends and colleagues to spend a night in your workplace, school or community centre (with permission).
The easiest way to fundraise is by setting up a Just Giving page, where our charity is registered. Details of how to set up a fundraising page will be emailed to you after registration.
If you would prefer to receive a printed sponsorship form please email [email protected]. If sponsors want to give you cash please deposit it on your own Justgiving page or contact MACS events team for advice.
What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?
Access to Banana Block is via the entrance on Newtownards Road. Parking is not permitted on the cobblestones at Portview but there is free on-street parking on Newtownards Road between 6pm until 8am. Connswater shopping centre is also a short walk away.
Who can take part?
You can take part as an individual or part of a group. If you have any medical conditions that may affect your ability to take part in this challenging event, please consult with your GP.
Children must be supervised by their parent/guardian or responsible adult at all times. MACS do not accept any duty or liability for young participants. Only 2 children per adult will be allowed to take part. Every participant will be asked to sign a photo consent and release form on the night. Adults must sign this on under-18s behalf but please discuss this in advance with your children and email [email protected] early if they/you do NOT want their image to be captured or published.
That’s the boring stuff done, we look forward to having children attend this fun fundraising event.
What can I bring into the event?
A sleeping bag, a pillow and a roll out mat to lie on. Extra cardboard will be provided. Please dress warm. We advise you double up on socks and gloves. November is c-c-c-c-old! No glass bottles. Light snacks and breakfast will be provided and is covered by your registration fee. Alcohol is not permitted on site. Our advice is to have a proper meal before arrival. Entertainment will be provided from 7pm to 11pm when we sleep ( or try to sleep).
Sleep Out is a social event but there is a strict noise policy after 11pm. Out of consideration for other participants, we ask everyone to be quiet after 11pm. Anyone being loud or causing disruption may be asked to leave Banana Block.
How can I contact the organiser with any questions
Read more about MACS here
Donate to their Just Giving page here