Dozens of Manchester businesspeople braved a night out in the cold to raise thousands of pounds for efforts to tackle homelessness.
The bosses swapping their usual comfortable surroundings for the open air for a night is all part of a national initiative which tries to get businesses and entrepreneurs to do more to tackle rough sleeping.
And the Manchester sleepout was a big success, with an impressive £50,000 raised from the night of discomfort and low temperatures.
What was the CEO Sleepout in Manchester?
In total 50 people came to the cricket ground where Lancashire play to spend a cold night sleeping rough.
Money raised from the event will go towards fighting poverty and homelessness, and the vast majority of the funds will stay in the local area.
Top fund-raisers included Mark Mann, co-founder and CEO of the 11 11 Group, who raised over £5,800, Sean Crooks, executive director at BMI Healthcare, who, along with his team, raised £5,500, and John Burton, of Inside Connections Support CiC, and Andrew Tebbutt, of XPO Group, who raised £4,400 and £3,000 respectively.
What did the participants say about it?
Those who took part in Manchester’s fifth CEO Sleepout to raise money to combat homelessness spoke of the camaraderie among those taking part and just what an eye-opening experience it is to even get a glimpse of the conditions rough sleepers have to face without a roof over their heads.
CEO Sleepout chief executive Bianca Robinson said: “It was inspiring to see so many people come together for such a good cause.
“This was our fifth event at Old Trafford, taking the total we’ve raised to fight homelessness and poverty in Manchester to over £320,000!
“The atmosphere on the night was wonderful and, despite the cold, knowing we were helping people across the region generated a really warm feeling.
“I am so grateful for the business leaders of this great city for uniting together and making a stand against the shocking effects of poverty in our society.”
Sean Crooks, executive director of BMI Healthcare, said: “I could share one message from the event I would say, don’t just walk past a person on the street.
“Many of us are one significant event away from being in that position ourselves. We should treat everyone with the respect and compassion we’d want if we were in that situation.
“It was very uncomfortable, sleeping on hard ground night after night has a serious impact on a person’s health and I can only imagine how scared people must feel having to go through it alone.
“We hope the money raised supports local charities to improve people’s lives and to provide a pathway to recovery for those affected by homelessness.
“So far, we have raised £5,355 and are well on the way to reaching our goal of £8,000.”
Sandy Mitchell of Lancashire Cricket Foundation said: “We were delighted to be able to partner up with CEO Sleepout Manchester and provide the necessary support for such a worthwhile event, which is dedicated to helping raise funds to tackle the causes and effects of homelessness in the city.
“This event is a great opportunity to raise people’s awareness of homelessness in Manchester and by partnering up with CEO Sleepout UK again, we have helped raise significant funds for charities that support those in need day in and day out.”
What did those who causes will benefit from the fund-raising say?
Joel Oxberry, of WWTW, said: “We are proud to be a beneficiary of CEO Sleepout. The work that they do to raise awareness and funds for those who find themselves homeless is very important, especially to a charity like WWTW that works tirelessly for the benefit of veterans that find themselves without a place to call home.
“WWTW believes that those who served, deserve. Whether mentally, socially or physically wounded, they deserve care and support, and they and their families need to function in society.
“Thankfully, it is something that our supporters believe too, which is why we were delighted to be joined by so many sleepers at the North West sleepout.
“My personal thanks goes out to all those who participated and to CEO Sleepout for delivering yet another successful sleepout.”
Former GB athlete Diane Modahl added: “I could never rationalise how sleeping outdoors, exposed to the elements with nothing other than a sleeping bag, and many layers, would actually make any positive impact on moving the dial on homelessness and rough sleeping, particularly when I knew the next morning I would be returning to a warm home and a loving family.
“Having taken part in CEO Sleepout, I came to understand that it is not about what I think, but what we do. I’m proud to have taken part and along with the amazing CEOs who also said yes and raised a staggering £50,000 and counting.”