Company bosses from across County Durham are being asked to spend a night outdoors in aid of a good cause.
CEO Sleepout is a national initiative that encourages businesspeople to help raise money to combat homelessness and local business leaders are being urged to take part in the Darlington event in November.
Chief executive Bianca Robinson said: “We’ve held sleepouts in Darlington since 2018 and I’m really excited for this year’s event – it will be great to see our regular supporters again.
“However, I’m also looking forward to meeting some new faces; all business owners from large and small organisations are welcome, alongside senior execs, teams and director level employees.
“We’ve got 30 people signed up already, including three Darlington Mowden Park rugby players, Joe Craggs, Callum Mackenzie and Isaak Welch, and I’m hoping to reach our 50 limit by the time the event comes round in November.”
Mel Coutts, managing director of recruitment firm RecruitRite, has already signed up to take part.
She said: “I’ve been part of the CEO Sleepout since the very first Darlington event three years ago and it’s always such a wonderful event, with a really supportive atmosphere.
“I’m pleased to be able to support such a good cause, especially as all the money raised locally is spent locally; it’s good to know that you’re helping out the community you live in.
“Sleeping outside, even just for one night, really brings home the reality of what living on the streets is like, and anything we, as the business community, can do to raise awareness can only be a good thing.”
Since the charity was founded in 2013, events have been held at venues across the country, including Wembley Stadium, Lord’s Cricket Ground, St James’ Park, Old Trafford cricket ground and Alnwick Garden, raising £2.9 million to date.
Bianca added: “Over 250,000 people in England are homeless and in temporary accommodation.
“The sleepout is intended to raise awareness – and lots of money – to fight homelessness, but also to remind all of us in business that we have the power to make a stand.”
This year’s event will be slightly different to usual, with measures such as temperature checks, hand sanitiser points and social distancing in place, to ensure it is Covid safe.
There will also be a special appearance by 60s girl group The Lipsticks, who will be serenading participants as they set up their sleeping pitches.
Bianca added: “I’d urge anyone who has ever considered taking part to do it.
“People do have concerns about where they’ll sleep and how ‘basic’ it will be, but we do have a fairly comprehensive list of allowed provisions, such as sleeping bags, eye masks and ear plugs – believe me, if you think you’re a silent sleeper, you’re wrong!
“However, I always like to say it could be the best night’s sleep you’ll ever get – as it could change someone’s life.”
The Darlington CEO Sleepout will take place on Thursday, November 18th at the Northern Echo Arena, Mowden Park.
For more information or to sign up for this year’s event, visit ceosleepoutuk.com/darlington/.