The organisers of the national homelessness initiative CEO Sleepout are celebrating raising £23,000 after the county's first time hosting the event.
It saw 22 local business leaders sleeping under the stars in Leeds Castle to raise funds and awareness to combat homelessness.
Chief executive of CEO Sleepout, Bianca Robinson (pictured above with participants), said: “The first Kent sleepout was a massive success – it was a great night and a phenomenal effort by our small but enthusiastic group of company bosses.
“Even the sprinkler system coming on unexpectedly at 2am couldn’t dampen the atmosphere and even though those taking part were soaked, most were philosophical about the incident, resonating with the plight of rough sleepers.”
All the funds raised from the event are to be donated to charities fighting homelessness in Kent. This includes Porchlight, which supports thousands of rough sleepers every year.
Bianca added: “Porchlight estimates that there are 1,000 people without secure accommodation in Kent on any given night.
“As well as supporting people who are homeless, the charity is currently campaigning for the local council to re-allocate funding towards homelessness, as this has recently been withdrawn.”
CEO Sleepout was founded in 2013. They have since raised over £3m to help homeless people at events throughout the country. The Kent event was more successful than they had expected, meaning it is likely to return in future.
Jo Dawes, director of fundraising and communications at Porchlight, said: “We are thrilled to have been a beneficial charity for the inaugural CEO Sleepout event in Kent and are humbled that the participants raised so much money to support homeless and vulnerable people here in the region.
“We are hugely thankful to the many business leaders who chose to put themselves in the shoes of a rough sleeper and take part in the CEO Sleepout event. Not only were they great sports – surviving a drenching from the sprinkler system – but they were also fantastic fundraisers, raising much more than we expected.
“I hope they leave with a deeper understanding of the realities of homelessness in Kent, a sense of pride in what they have achieved and a desire to spread the word about our work.”