Posted 08/05/2017

CEO Sleepout Success!

London’s Paternoster Square.

On Thursday 20th March I spent the night on the cold hard ground in London’s Paternoster Square. When I came up with the idea for this event to raise money for Action For Children a few years, I named it the “CEO Sleepout”. Perhaps I should have called it something else – there certainly isn’t much in the way of “sleep” happening!

Our 2017 event is now over and it was a chilly one, temperatures dropped to just 4° on Thursday night. Somehow the ground felt colder and harder as the night wore on. Fingers and toes grew numb and it was pretty impossible to relax into any kind of sleep as we were all so rigid from the cold. AJ managed 20 minutes or so, perhaps sedated slightly with hardcore cold and flu medication! The night felt incredibly long and by the morning everyone was exhausted, aching and looking forward to warming up and getting back to normality.

A gesture towards the reality of life

We all agreed it was incredibly tough but actually, we know that our experience of “sleeping out” doesn’t come close to the true experience of homelessness and whilst it was a challenge, it is a mere gesture towards the reality of life for those on the streets – we haven’t actually experienced anything close the “real deal”.

With thoughts of the terrible events of the day before at Westminster in our minds, we knew how lucky we were in comparison to the true vulnerability of the homeless people on the streets of London. We were all well equipped for the low temperatures, with thermal layers, hats, gloves, decent sleeping bags, foil blankets and any medication we needed for the night. We also had a security team present, access to toilet facilities and catering pre and post event. Aren’t we lucky, really, to have the chance of undertaking the challenge under such privileged circumstances?

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