Organisers of a UK charity are urging big-hearted Sunderland business leaders to sleep outdoors for one night to raise vital funds to combat homelessness.

The CEO Sleepout initiative is holding its first Sunderland event on November 4th at the Stadium of Light, when CEOs, company bosses and senior management will give up their beds to help support the homeless in the region.

Chief executive Bianca Robinson said: “We’re incredibly excited to be hosting our first CEO Sleepout event in Sunderland and it’s going to be great to meet some new faces.

“I’m delighted that over 50 people have signed up to take part so far – thank you to each and every one of you. We’re asking participants to aim to raise £1,000, including Gift Aid, and this can be gathered through donations from other businesses, match-funding and personal contributions.

“We’re looking for 100 people to take part so there’s plenty of space available; all business owners from large and small organisations are welcome, alongside senior execs, teams and director level employees.

“With more than 250,000 people in England who are homeless, or in temporary accommodation, we are encouraging business leaders to unite, take on this challenge and help raise the vital funds needed to support those who have no home, and nowhere to feel safe.”

Brian Logan, director of accounts and business services at local accountancy and business advisory firm Azets, has signed up for the Sunderland event having already participated in previous CEO Sleepouts.

Speaking about the reason he decided to get involved with the event, Brian said: “Unfortunately many are struggling across our region, especially after the pandemic, and it’s important we do all we can to spread awareness of the growing number of people who are struggling.

“I’d encourage anyone who can to join us, support this great organisation and get out there for just one night.”

CEO Sleepout will also hold its Darlington event, which has 33 participants signed up so far, including Darlington Mowden Park rugby players, Joe Craggs, Callum Mackenzie and Isaak Welch, on November 18th at the Northern Echo Arena, Mowden Park.

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.

“If anyone is unable to make the Sunderland event please don’t hesitate to get in touch as we still have 17 spaces available for the Darlington CEO Sleepout so you’re more than welcome to join us at Mowden Park,” said Bianca.

“By participating in a CEO Sleepout event, business leaders will gain an insight into the issues surrounding homelessness. Sleeping on the ground for a night may be a little cold and uncomfortable, but isn’t it worth it if you can help someone in need in your local area?”

Since the charity was founded in 2013, events have raised £2.9 million, with funds being donated to charities across the UK.

Bianca added: “I’d like to strongly encourage anyone who is considering signing up to go for it!

“We know it can be a little daunting, but I always like to say it could be the best night’s sleep you’ll ever get – as it could change someone’s life.”

For more information or to sign up for this year’s event, visit ceosleepoutuk.com/sunderland/.