The Toon CEO Sleepout took place on Thursday 17 October and saw 50 of the region's top business leaders giving up a night of comfort to sleep out by the side of the pitch at St James' Park, with the final total raised now confirmed at an impressive £56,712.
Organised by Middlesbrough & Teesside Philanthropic Foundation in partnership with Newcastle United Foundation, the CEO Sleepout was an opportunity for business people to raise awareness and important funds for essential homeless services in the city.
All those who took part were tasked with raising £1,000 in sponsorship meaning the Newcastle event beat the £30,000 target set by CEO's in Middlesbrough earlier this year. The funds raised will now be distributed to a range of good causes including Changing Lives towards the cost of employing a new worker in Newcastle and Newcastle United Foundation to help set up and run the Newcastle Homeless Football Club, a new initiative which aims to improve the health, confidence and life chances of homeless people across Tyneside.
Stephen Bell, Chief Executive of Changing Lives was among those who slept out:
"Working at the sharp end of homelessness in our region, Changing Lives staff and volunteers see day-in day-out the very real challenges faced by people with no option but to sleep on our streets. Homelessness numbers are rising and with winter now here and temperatures dropping, events like the CEO Sleepout are vital to help us raise awareness and much needed funds for this important, and ever increasing, issue.
"Taking part in the event was a valuable experience for people. Although it was for one night only, we often take basic needs such as food, warmth and comfort for granted. This event gave us the opportunity to put a spotlight on homelessness and to talk to the region's business leaders about the real issues faced by thousands of people and families in our community every day. We are very grateful for the support and the amount raised is fantastic! We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported this important event."
Plans are underway for another CEO Sleepout at St James' Park in October 2014. To register your interest email firstname.lastname@example.org