NINETEEN people gathered to sleep under the stars at Christ the Saviour Church in Ealing Broadway.

The group braved the cold weather as part of a YMCA campaign to raise money for young homeless people in the area.

With only cardboard boxes and sleeping bags to see them through the night, the fundraisers struggled to stay warm in near-freezing temperatures. Their plight didn’t go unnoticed, however, as local eateries handed out free slices of pizza.

Among those taking part was Ealing Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Gary Malcolm.

YMCA volunteer Louise Scott said: "By doing this I was able to get just a small taste of what it’s like to be a homeless person sleeping rough.

“For me, it was by lying down in my dark, cardboard box that the real thinking began. With just a few hours until dawn, I could soon go home to my own bed, but what if, like many rough sleepers, I had no idea when or if that could ever happen again?”

West London YMCA gives more than 450 people aged 16-25 a safe place to live in its accommodation in Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow, and the sponsored sleep-out was organised as part of its National SleepEasy.

Undertaken by YMCAs across the UK between January and March, more than 1,600 people have participated in the SleepEasy, collectively raising about £130,000.

So far the Ealing team has raised £2,318 for the cause. Donations to help them reach their £3,000 target can be made at