Spending a night under the stars…

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On the 3rd of November, team RE:geon spent the night sleeping out in the cold at Sunderland, Stadium of Light to raise money and awareness for homelessness as part of the CEO Sleepout – a fantastic nationwide initiative dedicated to encouraging senior leaders and CEOs (from one extreme to another) to unite as one and fight against homelessness in a way that to thousands, is just their day-to-day reality.

 

What if it were you?

Imagine if you had no home, no food, and nowhere you felt safe. That’s the nightmare facing over 260,000 people who are homeless today in the UK. And it’s getting much worse as the cost-of-living drives people out of their homes and into slum housing or even onto the streets. Recent studies show the shocking truth around homelessness in England:

  • Over 260,000 people in England are homeless and in temporary accommodation.
  • Over 61% of adults in England living in temporary accommodation are women.
  • Single parents make up 72% of all homeless families living in temporary accommodation, but only 24% of families.
  • 1 in 23 black households become homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless, compared to 1 in 83 households from all other ethnicities.
  • 24% of young homeless people in the UK are LGBT+.
  • More than half (55%) of people who make a homeless application are aged between 16

As a team passionate about supporting those less fortunate than ourselves, team RE:geon snapped up the opportunity to get involved!

 

The Charities

The CEO Sleepout was founded in 2014 and so far, more than 5000 executives have taken part, raising £3,000,000, across over 100 charities, to change live up and down the country! This year’s Sunderland CEO Sleepout will be raising funds for 4 charities. All funds raised will be used within Sunderland to help fight homelessness in our local region. The charities were:

The Red Sky Foundation provides life-saving defibrillators for local school and public spaces, working with local education and council representatives.

Depaul UK focuses on meeting the needs of young people experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.

Walking With The Wounded or ‘WWTW’ delivers employment, mental health, care coordination and volunteering programmes in collaboration with the NHS to get those who served, and their families, whether mentally, socially or physically wounded, back on their feet and making a positive contribution once more.

SCSK are a group of volunteers who provide free food to hungry people in Sunderland.

 

Fundraising isn’t called FUNdraising for nothing!

Although the cause we are supporting is an incredibly serious one, with massive implications for many vulnerable people within our local regions, and nationwide, it’s important to find new, FUN and innovative ways to raise money and awareness. To engage as many people as possible and keep the spirit of hope alive!

One way we looked to raise money was through hosting The Great Big Quiz at the Great Park Community Centre on the 27th of October to raise funds. Each quiz player paid a £5 fee and participated in a fun evening with lots of food, drinks and a quiz which Rochelle, our Head of Strategy had put together.

From the quiz, the team raised £268 which contributes to their fundraising.

In total, team RE:geon raised £1,805 from 58 supporters and the funds from the quiz. We are incredibly proud of this achievement!

 

So, here’s how the night went…

After a day of packing the very limited items we could take with us, the night kicked off with a talk from guest speakers of the CEO Sleepout as well as previous participants to help set the scene for the night ahead. The talks also included a panel discussion from the four charities we were fundraising for and the Mayor of Sunderland, Alison Smith and her husband David Smith joined the group in thanking everyone for our participation so far. Why not listen to Alison sharing insight into her experience of the CEO Sleepout through the link below:

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After the talks, all participants headed outside to set up where we’d be sleeping for the night. Nadia came equipped in full camping gear offering her sushi to everybody outside. Cheryl came with a broken sleeping bag but managed to fix it after some struggle and a slight dip in morale. Rochelle came with a sleeping bag, mat and emergency blanket and Tom had a two-person tarp all to himself.

 

After a very cold and sleepless night, which seemed to drag on forever, the CEO Sleepout was over.

In total, all business leaders involved in the Sunderland event raised over £30,000 for the four charities involved. The funds will be split equally between them who will now be able to help many individuals in the Sunderland community get back on their feet and with a roof above their head.

 

To say it was an insightful and humbling experience is a true understatement. Our team (once they caught up on some sleep) shared a few words about the experience:

 

Nadia Scott, Managing Director:

“Just 24 hours before the CEO Sleepout, I landed back in the UK from a 14-day all-inclusive holiday in Mexico celebrating 2 very good friends getting married and my son’s 20th birthday. What a pleasure and privilege that was… Although some would call today the start of my holiday blues, coming home to a permanent roof over my head is something I am extremely grateful for, and will never take for granted because for thousands across the UK, the warmth and comfort of a home (no matter how luxurious you deem it) is something they can only dream of.  

Lying awake under the stars on the 3rd November, I thought about all of the everyday people just like you and I who have ended up homeless, missing out on so many opportunities in life through no fault of their own. Despite the cold and lack of sleep, I felt lucky to be surrounded by so many incredible people representing all kinds of businesses and organisations who had united to help fight. Arguably we have fought our entire business careers to get where we are today so I genuinely believe we are the ones who can help make great change. The CEO Sleepout was an unforgettable experience and the fire in my belly to keep fighting against homelessness as a result of the event burns ever brighter.”

 

Rochelle Groh, Strategy Director:

“I like to do charity work at least 2-3 times a year . I never heard about the CEO Sleepout, but after reading about what you do, I was moved to take action for people that don’t have a roof over their head. This event is a great because it raises funds for charities and people in need. I’ve learned that people become homeless for a variety of different reasons and there’s specific charities that use these funds for very targeted and specific areas of the homeless community. This charity event was also very different from any charity activity I’ve done in the past and I’ve been volunteering and doing charity work for 25 years. “

 

Tom Lamb, Strategy Director:

“The CEO Sleepout was an interesting experience to say the least! It was great to be part of such an event and it was particularly heart-warming to hear from the different charities how the monies raised will support their efforts within the North East. The experience itself was humbling and tough, and grounded you to the reality some people face on a daily basis.”

 

Cheryl Sutherland, Director of Operations:

“It was extremely home-hitting to hear from the speakers that evening about the good work that the charities are doing across the city. We barely scratched the surface of what it would really be like to be homeless however we were able to raise a lot of money and awareness which was a fantastic achievement for everyone who came together that night.”

 

The CEO Sleepout is an amazing organisation and team RE:geon are proud to have united with many other business leaders to fight homelessness and give back to the many amazing charities who were involved. We’re still fundraising to provide as much support as we can, so if you would like to spare just a few pennies more, then please click below:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/regeon-training 

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