Harrogate bosses challenged to sleep out for charity

CEO Sleepout is designed to raise funds and to highlight the ordeal that rough sleepers have to face each night. PHOTO: Marisa Cahill.
CEO Sleepout is designed to raise funds and to highlight the ordeal that rough sleepers have to face each night. PHOTO: Marisa Cahill.

CEO Sleepout has teamed up with Harrogate Homeless project and YMCA Ripon to challenge company bosses from across the district to take part in its next event.

Business leaders will give up their warm beds to literally ‘sleep out’ at Harrogate RUFC on November 25 in a bid to raise money for local charities helping in the fight against homelessness and poverty.

CEO Sleepout’s chief executive, Bianca Robinson, said: “Although it’s only for one night, and doesn’t come close to what homeless people experience night after night, CEO Sleepout is intended to raise awareness and lots of money to fight homelessness locally and nationally, but also to remind all of us in business about our social responsibility and that we have the power to make a stand against inequality.

“We’re inviting CEOs, senior level staff and their teams from across Harrogate to take part in what is sure to be a memorable and rewarding night.”

To sign up for the CEO Sleepout in Harrogate, go to www.ceosleepoutuk.com/Harrogate

A number of Harrogate business leaders have already signed up to take part, including the Mayor of Harrogate, Coun Stuart Martin; Erica Wilson, managing director at Wilson Power Solutions; and Geoff Wilkinson, director at M-Cars, who has signed up for a second consecutive year.

Erica Wilson, managing director of Wilson Power Solutions, said: “I feel very privileged in my position. I was lucky enough to be given a wonderful start in life, plenty of love, and fantastic opportunities to work hard with if I chose to, which I did.

“It is our responsibility as a community and as human beings to help others that find themselves in such a different and difficult position on the street. They all have different reasons as to ‘how’ and ‘why’ they find themselves in this position, and we should not judge or decide how that has happened but help, and try to understand and give them the care, respect and time that others clearly haven’t in their lives so far.”

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 £2.2m to date.

Harrogate RUFC boss, David Doherty, said: “Harrogate Rugby is delighted to host the CEO Sleepout on Monday, 25 November.

“As a community rugby club we are committed to caring for everyone in the local area and that includes people that, for one reason or another, have lost their way. We are aiming to raise awareness and money to help get those people back on their feet for the long term.

“Getting business leaders to experience a night sleeping rough (no frills) hopefully can serve to highlight some of the challenges homeless people face in maintaining regular work, sleep and their daily safety.”

Harrogate Homeless Project chief executive, Liz Hancock, said “HHP is delighted to be once again involved in the Harrogate CEO Sleepout, following such a successful first event in 2018. Not only did the event raise much needed funds for our charity, but importantly it raised awareness amongst the business community about the issue of homelessness in our district.”

YMCA Ripon chief executive, Lucy Gratton, said: “The funds donated by CEO Sleepout support our work to develop our tenants’ rooms and communal spaces.

“We house up to 19 vulnerable homeless young people and have an intensive refurbishment program to update rooms. By providing tenants with a fresh and modern room we find that they respect the space and work with us to ensure the site is safe and secure for all our users.”