6am this morning (13 October) heralded the alarm call for the largest CEO Sleepout event ever held with 100 business leaders taking part to raise money for the homeless. It was the first time the Kia Oval cricket ground had allowed a large overnight sleep-over to take place in its grounds.
For the charity event, 100 CEOs and senior managers from a wide range of industries and sectors snuggled down into their sleeping bags to spend a cold night out in the open. All funds raised will go to three charities tackling poverty and homelessness – the Cardinal Hume Centre, Church Urban Fund and Depaul UK. So far, the Sleepout has raised over £100,000 for the three charities, with more money to be pledged in the coming weeks.
Andy Preston, founder of the charity CEO Sleepout UK, said, “What a night –
the Kia Oval hasn’t experienced anything like this before! You rarely get the chance to sleep over at somewhere as iconic as this sports ground, so everyone was in great spirits.
“It was such a warm and generous atmosphere – I knew that everyone I saw was giving up a good night’s sleep in a comfy bed to help raise money for those that don’t have any choice but to sleep rough. We’re incredibly grateful to everyone, and their sponsors, who got involved and helped raise a fantastic amount for charity. This money will go a long way in supporting vulnerable people in London facing poverty, homelessness and other desperate situations.”
Sleepers included Mark Hoban, former MP and Minister for Employment and Chairman of Flood Re., Jo Siedlecka, editor of Independent Catholic News, and Philip Marsden, Chairman of Ridgeway Partners, who has single-handedly raised over £60,000. Philip says,
“While I have played cricket at the Oval before, I have never slept here. Tonight I’m sleeping out because homeless people younger than my own kids need help. The Cardinal Hume Centre, founded by my teacher and mentor Cardinal Hume, provides a home and support for young homeless people. Although sleeping out for one night does not compare to what these young people have to face every day, I hope it will highlight the issue of homelessness and raise funds for the Centre’s work.”
The sleepers included for the second year by the Cardinal Hume Centre’s Chief Executive, Cathy Corcoran, who said, “What we did tonight is an act of solidarity to show that we do care, and that homelessness and poverty should simply not exist in our country, one of the richest in the world. At the Centre in Central London we know what poverty and homelessness look like. But we also know that, with the help of our staff and volunteers, the people who come to the Centre can, and do, turn their lives around. I’m pleased we’re standing alongside Depaul UK and Church Urban Fund, showing a united front against homelessness in the UK.”
Those inspired by the efforts of last night’s sleepers still have a chance to pledge money via the CEO Sleepout Just Giving page – visit www.justgiving.com/ceosleepout. CEOs and senior managers inspired to get involved in next year’s Sleepout should contact the Centre for more information and to find out more.
For more about the charity and how to get involved in the next Sleepout events, contact email@example.com or on 020 7222 1602.