VOLUNTEERS are set to brave the cold when they sleep rough tomorrow night to help keep young people off the streets.

At least 90 people, including staff from Leigh Waitrose, construction firm HW Wilson, mental health charity the Richmond Fellowship, Southend Council and South Essex Homes, will raise money for Southend YMCA by sleeping in the charity’s car park, in Ambleside Drive.

Two Echo reporters – David Trayner and Philip Jones – will join the fundraising event.

Organiser Tom Moulton said: “We are really touched with how many people are supporting us.

“We may even have 100 people sleeping rough. That’s the number we wanted to reach.

“It’s going to be interesting how we all squeeze into the car park!”

Participants, who can bring a sleeping bag and bedding, will be given cardboard boxes to build a shelter to protect them as they bed down on the tarmac for the night.

Gazebos will provide cover as rain is forecast, but volunteers will be expected to brave the wind and cold.

Mr Moulton said: “Homeless people rarely sleep out in the open. If you are sleeping rough for the night you seek shelter.”

Young performers will entertain volunteers with music and circus skills around a camp fire.

The charity will provide refreshments through the night and a hot breakfast in the morning.

Awards will be presented for the most sponsorship raised by an individual and team of fundraisers.

The YMCA opened a free school in East Street, Southend, in September and is hoping to develop a block of flats to house vulnerable youths whose lives it has turned around.

Sponsorship would contribute towards the £1million flats.

More than 60 people, including two Echo reporters, helped raise more than £8,000 when they braved temperatures of -4C to take part in the first Southend “sleep easy”

event in March last year.

To register for the event, which costs £12 to enter, visit www.

southendymca.org.uk/sleepeasy 2014.