Set up by Andy Preston in 2013, CEO Sleepout is a charity set up to fight homelessness and poverty with money and awareness raised through CEO Sleepout events each year.
Taking place in 9 locations across the UK, the event is designed to tackle the issue of homelessness directly, giving influential local business professionals and figures the chance to experience of sleeping ‘rough’ for just one night. Sponsors are given by friends, colleagues and business contacts with the biggest event in London in 2015 raising in excess of £180,000 followed by Newcastle earlier this year where more than £78,000 was raised. A huge £680,000 has been raised across all events since it’s inception.
Homelessness is an issue which is often ignored and in the last six years, every day there are at least five new rough sleepers to the streets of Manchester and this year, alongside 102 other sleepers, our Head of Business Development, Sophie Southworth is doing her bit and heading along to Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester to take part in the CEO Sleepout. With just her sleeping bag in tow, Sophie is delighted to be part of the event on the 16th of May and aims to raise awareness of the cause and bring funding and opportunity directly to those who need it.
I asked Sophie about her participation in the CEO Sleepout and here’s what she had to say:
“On her participation, Sophie commented; “While I can’t imagine it will the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had, I couldn’t be happier to be part of such a worthy cause. In this day and age there’s no excuse for us to allow people to be in such a horrible situation, without a home or opportunity. I’ve wanted to do something that makes a difference, but couldn’t find anything that really made a big enough impact or took me out of my comfort zone enough. CEO Sleepout is a unique opportunity to not just act, but educate myself on an important topic. If only for a night, you understand just a small part of what too many people have to go through - it’s as close to experiencing the cause you’re supporting as you can get. I’m keen to learn and hopefully make a real impact to those who find themselves in this difficult situation.”
Aside from the CEO Sleepout, just this week, the Manchester Evening News released an article about what homeless people in Manchester really need and after speaking to a number of homeless people, they shared the stories of four homeless men in Manchester and what they feel would help people living on the streets. You can read this full article here.
With the an increase in homeless people in Manchester everyday, the CEO Sleepout isn’t the only initiative in place to raise money and awareness for homelessness. For the first time, local councils, police forces, fire services and local businesses have come together with the Manchester Charter to pledge their support for the growing issue and make their pledge. Read more on this and find out how you can get involved here.
With the CEO Sleepout taking place this coming Monday, keep your eyes peeled for updates coming from our Sophie and if you have a few spare pennies, please show her your support.