CEO Sleepout UK is challenging Milton Keynes’ business owners and executives to bed down in their garden on the night of 19th April as the event goes virtual in a bid to boost funding for charities on the front line of homelessness and poverty in the city.
In November 2019, CEO Sleepout raised £98,000 at the event held at Stadium MK which was split between three charities; YMCA MK, The MK Dons SET, and CEO Sleepout UK.
CEO Sleepout is working with YMCA MK and MK Dons SET once again to bring the local business community together virtually, to spend the night under the stars and experience a little of what those without homes go through every single night. Participants will learn about the challenges faced by charities during lockdown, continuing to provide accommodation, food, and support to help people who have been pulled into destitution and homelessness to get back on their feet.
50 business leaders had already registered for the event, which was originally planned for 7 November 2020. Dean Bowditch, ambassador for the charity MK Dons SET, slept out in his garden on that date, and has raised over £2,000.
Dean said: “It was a tough night, but people willingly donated to help me more than double my original target, showing that the compassion is there for people who’ve been made homeless as a result of this pandemic. Absolutely nobody should be homeless or on the streets, let alone in these freezing temperatures. I am looking forward to bringing the business community together again albeit via video link – we’re a fantastic city that comes together to help those in need.”
Simon Green, CEO of YMCA MK said: “While this year’s CEO Sleepout will be a bit different, it’s vital that it goes ahead. While certain aspects of life have been put on hold due to the pandemic, our work cannot. YMCA Milton Keynes have been working harder than ever to provide safe housing and support to vulnerable young people in our area. We must make sure that those who need us most do not get left behind and that is why the CEO Sleepout is such an important event.”
Maralyn Smith, CEO of MK Dons SET added: “MK Dons SET is pleased to be supporting the CEO sleepout albeit virtually again this spring. All at SET believe that its an important issue to be tackling and we hope to raise awareness and some funding towards this. With over half a million people being homeless and a quarter being children we can all play a part raising awareness of the homelessness and make a difference, so get involved and support the Virtual CEO Sleepout 2021.”
“We’re inviting Milton Keynes’ big-hearted business leadership community to take part in what is sure to be a memorable and rewarding night,” CEO Sleepout’s Chief Executive, Bianca Robinson, comments. “Although it’s only for one night and doesn’t come close to what homeless people experience night after night, the virtual CEO Sleepout in Milton Keynes is intended to raise awareness and lots of money to tackle the rising tide of homelessness we’re seeing as a result of the pandemic and lockdown measures.”
Since the charity was founded in 2013, CEO Sleepout events have been held at venues across the country, including at Wembley Stadium, St James’ Park Newcastle, Old Trafford cricket ground, The Alnwick Garden and Lord’s Cricket Ground. Its events have raised more than £2.8 million to date. But since strict lockdown restrictions have come into effect, the charity has had to innovate, successfully pivoting to virtual events.
Last year, over 400 big-hearted volunteers gave up their beds and slept on their living room floor or in their gardens – raising a combined total of over £60,000.