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Former soldier leads Norfolk veterans in sleep rough event

PUBLISHED: 11:10 25 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:22 25 January 2018

Royal British Legion member and ex-soldier Liam Young is researching into the men behind the names on the war graves in Dereham cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt

Royal British Legion member and ex-soldier Liam Young is researching into the men behind the names on the war graves in Dereham cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt

Norfolk veterans will be heading to Norwich next month to sleep rough, raising funds an awareness for homeless people.

The veterans which will be sleeping rough. Picture: Liam Young The veterans which will be sleeping rough. Picture: Liam Young

Dereham’s Liam Young served in the army for 12 years, and has organised the event to spread support for the homeless in Norwich, as well as trying to better understand what people living on the streets want.

Mr Young will be joined by around 20 fellow veterans from across the armed forces, and will be taking to the streets of Norwich on February 3.

Mr Young said: “I was inspired by a group of veterans up north who successfully launched two support houses for homeless veterans.

“But there was no point in us raising money here and then sending it there, particularly when support is needed here.”

Mr Young, 31, continued: “A lot of veterans end of homeless because they leave the forces because they have a reason to leave or they’re discharged, and they don’t have anyone.

“But we want to draw attention to all homeless people, it doesn’t matter if they’ve served or have just come on hard times, they’re still all people.”

The group will be visiting the Norwich Soup Kitchen movement as part of their night in Norwich.

“We want to help out at the soup kitchen if we can, we’ve got some fresh fruit and vegetables to donate to the people there. And we just want to have a chat and see what the people that go there think,” Mr Young added.

“Then we can report back to charities in Norwich what homeless people actually need. People are proud, sometimes they won’t ask for help, but if we ask what they need then charities can go to them.

“We also want to know the issues homeless people are facing at the moment, for example cold winters, and then we can chat to residents we meet as we walk around and explain how they can help.”

Mr Young is hoping that next year his sleep rough event will cover all of Norfolk.

“We’ll take it wherever people are interested in going,” he said. “We’ve had a great response on facebook with people asking us to go to their town so we’ll start planning soon.”

The sleep out will take place on February 3, beginning at 7.30pm at the Forum in Norwich.

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