The biggest-ever CEO Sleepout London event took place last night (Monday, 31 October) at Lord’s Cricket Ground with around 200 CEOs, business and community leaders, MPs and Peers sleeping outside in a bid to raise more than £180,000 to help end homelessness.
Sol Campbell – the England, Tottenham and Arsenal football legend – slept out with a 12-strong team from Fiona Barratt Interiors, his wife’s company, to raise money for their local charity the Cardinal Hume Centre.
Sol said: “Nobody is pretending that one night sleeping outside is anything like being homeless. But we wanted to get involved to support the Cardinal Hume Centre and the other charities who do some amazing work to prevent homelessness. Every day in London we see people who are homeless and by being part of tonight’s event, we hope to shine the spotlight on the issue as well as raising some much-needed cash.”
England cricket legends Mike Gatting and Mike Brearley bowled over the sleepers with their humour and repartee in “An Audience With…” slot in The Long Room at Lord’s last night – entertaining the business chiefs, Parliamentarians and sporting figures before they bedded down for the night in the great outdoors.
Mike Gatting, 2014 MCC President and former England Captain, said: “This is a brilliant idea to raise funds and awareness for homelessness in the UK – and 200 VIPs sleeping out in the stands at the Home of Cricket is quite a sight!”
Mike Brearley, former England captain and Chairman of the MCC World Cricket committee, said: “The CEO Sleepout is a very worthwhile initiative and I am pleased MCC has hosted this event at Lord’s. To see such a significant number of senior staff from cricket, politics and business getting involved is great.”
The sleepers were raising funds for homelessness charities CEO Sleepout UK, Depaul, the Cardinal Hume Centre, MCC Community and YMCA North London.
Victoria Prowse brought along a team of 11 from Coca Cola European Partners. For her, the night was about more than raising money to support people facing homelessness, “Tonight is about having a fuller and deeper empathy for people who are homeless and what they go through. It’s about forming a closer, emotional relationship with the Cardinal Hume Centre, especially for my team whom I’ve brought along. I want them to gain a better appreciation of the incredible work the Cardinal Hume Centre does.”
Cathy Corcoran OBE, Chief Executive of the Cardinal Hume Centre, slept out for the third year in a row, having previously slept out at Wembley Stadium, the Kia Oval. She 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. It’s what we’ve been supporting people to do for the last thirty years.”
The Houses of Parliament were well represented with 10 Parliamentarians among the sleepers including London Conservative MPs David Burrowes and Stephen Hammond, Gravesham Conservative MP Adam Holloway, Labour MP Mike Kane, and Conservative MP David Mackintosh, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness, and Labour Peer Lord Glasman, Liberal Democrats The Lord Oates, The Baroness Suttie and The Baroness Grender and Conservative Peer The Baroness Jenkin of Kennington.
David Burrowes, MP for Enfield Southgate, said: “I am sleeping out to raise money for and support the work of Depaul because I want to help ensure that no young person has to face a frightening and perilous night on the streets. Every year, more than 80,000 young people in the UK experience homelessness, and CEO Sleepout London help Depaul and the other homelessness charities involved tackle this terrible problem.”
The cricketing world sported sleepers including Derek Brewer, CEO and Secretary of Marylebone Cricket Club (owners of Lord’s), Tom Harrison, CEO of England & Wales Cricket Board, Clare Connor, Director of England Women’s Cricket, England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and cricket commentator and MCC Committee member Isabelle Duncan.
Sleepers from the religious world included Vatican priest, Father Anthony Currer, an official in the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity who played club cricket for Durham before moving to Rome, and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism UK.