On Monday the 15th of October our Platform81 directors swapped their suits for sleeping bags and took part in the CEO Sleepout to help fight homelessness and poverty in the UK.
For a single night, business leaders from across Manchester gave up their beds to raise money and awareness for those who don’t have the luxury of beds at all. Our directors slept completely unsheltered, amongst their industry peers at Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Club with nothing but their coats and sleeping bags. We caught up with one of our directors, Alec Middleton, to discuss his experience of the event and find out what he learnt at the CEO Sleepout 2018.
What made you want to participate in the CEO Sleepout?
Alec: Platform81 have been busy fundraising all year to raise £10K in charity donations to support a range of causes. Homelessness is a huge concern, particularly in large cities like Manchester and our home town Stockport. Our team felt strongly about this so we were happy to represent them in this great event and support the cause.
Tell us what the CEO Sleepout involved.
Alec: Along with nearly 100 other business owners, we braved the elements and slept outside at Old Trafford Cricket ground. The night started with speeches from the 4 charities that were beneficiaries of CEO Sleepout, followed by soup and then bedding down for the night on the concrete floors. At 6.30am we had breakfast and said our goodbyes all looking a lot more tired than when we arrived!
How did it feel to sleep completely unsheltered, outdoors?
Alec: I felt okay with with it all. I was warm enough, but with the noise and light it was difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep. We were also well protected where we were. I can’t imagine how vulnerable you would feel if you were on the streets, open to the elements and other people. It must be incredibly unnerving and very scary at times.
What did you learn from the experience?
Alec: People end up homeless for a whole variety of reasons, often due to personal issues or factors completely out of their control. Feelings of worthlessness and no sense of purpose can often cause a downward spiral and further compound the pain that a lot of homeless people go through. A better understanding of the hardships faced would create greater empathy and less of a stigma around homelessness.
Would you do it again? Would you encourage other CEOs to participate?
Alec: Certainly. If you can raise some money for a great cause and gain a better understanding of such a difficult situation that some people have to cope with on a daily basis then it’s definitely worthwhile.
How much did you raise in total?
Alec: We raised an admirable £2000! – Thanks to all our sponsors!