Charity CEO Sleepout is encouraging Kent business leaders to spend a night under the stars in order to raise funds in aid of two homeless charities.
CEO Sleepout is a national organisation that combats homelessness by inviting company owners, managers and executives to experience one night of 'sleeping rough'.
The charity will hold their first event in Kent on May 12th.
Chief executive of CEO Sleepout Bianca Robinson said: “We’re over the moon to be holding the first ever Kent sleepout in the stunning and historic grounds of Leeds Castle.
“We have 21 participants so far with spaces quickly filling up. I would encourage anyone in the area who wants to make a difference in people’s lives to sign up.”
“Our events bring together business leaders to fight homelessness and while they not only raise big money, CEO Sleepout events unlock compassion and understanding for those involved.”
Helen Bonser-Wilton, chief executive at Leeds Castle, is taking part in the event and hopes to raise £1,000. She said: “It is such a good cause and given that it is the first CEO Sleepout in Kent, we thought it was appropriate to offer Leeds Castle as the venue.
“I think this is a really good way to understand the multiple challenges caused by rough sleeping and to help raise the profile and funds to tackle it.”
CEO Sleepout is aiming to raise between £40,000 and £50,000 from all the events this year and hopes company owners in Kent can contribute life-changing funds to the cause.
Funds raised from the Kent Sleepout will be donated to two local charities that are already making a difference to the lives of people who are homeless in the area - Porchlight and the Street Soccer Foundation.
Jo Dawes, director of fundraising and communications at Porchlight, said: “We’re thrilled to be benefitting from Kent’s first CEO Sleepout event.
“We are very hopeful that having business leaders come together in such an iconic venue can help shine a light on the realities of the day-to-day life of the homeless population in our local area.”
Porchlight supported almost 10,000 people in 2021 and would not have been able to do so without the help from the public.
Jo said: “Money from this event will help us to support people living on the streets and those at risk of homelessness.
“It will keep our helpline running for those struggling with their mental health. A donation of £50 is the cost of 10 calls to our helplines - helping us to support 10 vulnerable people.
“The event is timely as the cost of living is increasing at a dramatic rate and Kent residents are among the worst affected.
“We’re already hearing from an increasing number of people who can’t afford to feed themselves. We’re bracing ourselves for a homelessness crisis in Kent.”
Keith Mabbutt, CEO of the Street Soccer Foundation, said: “We are deeply grateful for the support offered by Bianca and the team at CEO Sleepout.
“Through our Street Soccer Academy course, our charity helps those who are vulnerable and homeless to have more self-belief, confidence and a better mental and physical health. We proudly run this as the UK’s number one football-led project tackling youth homelessness and the funds raised will be used to help sponsor places on our nationally acclaimed programme.”
Since CEO Sleepout was founded in 2013, events have raised over £3 million which helps those who are homeless across the country.