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Solicitors swap suits for sleeping bags to support homeless

Homelessness is one of many social and economic issues facing the UK. There are a multitude of causal factors and no easy answers, but the charity CEO Sleepout is bringing bosses around the country together to help raise money and support the fight against poverty and homelessness.

CEO Sleepout is funded by big-hearted business and community leaders who pledge to sleep outdoors for one night to raise awareness and sponsorship from their contacts and friends. Sleepout events are being held in cities across the country and in each case the money raised goes to work fighting homelessness in that city. The first CEO Sleepout in Hull will take place on Thursday November 15 and will support local charities including the Tigers Trust and Emmaus Hull & East Riding.

So, business leaders from around Hull and the East Riding will be giving up their bed for one night to help those who don’t have one, and among them will be James Legal's Director Simon Young and solicitor Byron Swarbrick.

An issue that can’t be ignored

Simon said: “Working in the city centre means that seeing people sitting and sleeping in shop doorways is a common sight. Homelessness has become part of our ‘norm’, but it is not something we should ignore.

“I always wonder what awful things must have happened to someone that they feel they have no alternative to the street, or that the streets are their best option. An increasing number of people are only one or two pay packets away from living on the streets, and I can understand how quickly people’s lives might descend into a downward spiral just from a couple of poor decisions or bad luck.”

He added: “I hope that I would always have a family support network around me but it saddens me that a lot of people don’t have anyone to turn to at all.”

Byron said: “Our sleeping rough for the CEO Sleepout can in no way compare to what the homeless are actually going through, but if we can just help raise more awareness of this important cause or generate funds for the charities supporting the city’s homeless people, then it’s worth doing.”

A caring campaign

Simon and Byron have set up Just Giving pages for anyone who would like to donate. Simon added: “Anything you can give to support this cause would be very gratefully received.”

CEO Sleepout’s National Coordinator, Bianca Robinson, said: “We are very grateful for the many busy individuals who give up their time to take part in our fundraising events across the country and want to challenge business people across Hull to show their generosity and get involved.

“Giving up one night of comfort offers the participants a snapshot of what life on the streets is really like for those living with homelessness and poverty.”

Kelly Thompson, Director at Emmaus Hull, said: “We are delighted to support this fabulous initiative. Emmaus Hull & East Riding deliver frontline support to those affected by homelessness every day of the year. We support rough sleepers on the streets, and offer homes to those wanting to make positive change.

“Through our creative charity shops we train and help people affected by homelessness get back into the world of work. We are a caring city so let’s make this the best CEO Sleepout campaign.”

Founded four years ago by Chairman, Andy Preston, CEO Sleepout events have been held at venues across the country including Wembley Stadium, St James’ Park Newcastle, Old Trafford cricket ground, Alnwick Gardens and Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Andy said: “I am very pleased to see so many business leaders take part in our CEO Sleepout events across the country and I am sure that Hull will not disappoint.”

Anyone who would like to donate to our efforts for CEOSleepout can do so via Simons Just Giving page here, and Byrons here. Anything you can give to support this cause would be very gratefully received.

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