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CEO Sleepout is challenging bosses from companies across Birmingham to sleep outside in aid of a good cause.

CEO Sleepout is a national initiative that encourages businesspeople to help raise money to combat homelessness and local company leaders are being urged to take part in the Birmingham event in December.

Birmingham City FC (BCFC) Community Trust and Changes UK are teaming up with CEO Sleepout UK on December 6th, 2021, to bring together senior level executives and owners from the local business community to spend the night under the stars, experiencing a little of what those without homes go through every single night.

The money raised by execs participating in the CEO Sleepout will help to fund programmes helping some of the most marginalised people across Birmingham get their lives back on track.

Antony Isherwood, community director at BCFC Community Trust, said: “We hope to use this event to introduce a project that focuses on more than just a single moment in time, providing a service that can potentially change the lives of homeless people in the city for good.

“The Blues For Life project is about giving people choices – we want to support them to a position where they are in full control of their lives and equip them to take the road they want to take upon finishing the 12-week course.”

Over 250,000 people in England are believed to be homeless and in temporary accommodation.

CEO of CEO Sleepout UK, Bianca Robinson said: “The sleepout is intended to unlock a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding homelessness including the impact of addiction and how it’s treated, and to remind all of us in business that we have the power to make a stand.”

Former Blues footballer and Changes UK Ambassador Paul Tait said: “I struggled with addiction for years and there were times I believed that there was no way out for me. I am fortunate that even at my lowest points I wasn’t made homeless, but it so easily could have been a different story.

“As an Ambassador for Changes UK I am delighted to be part of Birmingham’s CEO Sleepout raising funds for two charities so close to my heart and that do so much for those in our city that need it the most. We have got to start getting comfortable with talking about addiction so that people don’t reach a place of homelessness – bringing together Birmingham’s business community to be part of the conversation is a great place to start!”

Steve Dixon, founder and chief exec of Changes UK said: “For too long the stigma around homelessness and addiction has stopped people getting the help that they need. Public perception is that addiction is a result of homelessness, when the reality is that it is almost always the other way round. If the stigma around addiction did not exist people would not have to reach the crisis point of homelessness.

“Now more than ever we have a responsibility to support those that are suffering and start the conversation for our family members, co-workers and friends to be able to talk openly about their addiction and break the cycle that leads to homelessness, because who knows what is in the future for any of us, addiction does not discriminate.

“This event is a great opportunity for us to reframe attitudes towards addiction together, to one of compassion, empathy and understanding.”

Senior executives from Lloyds Banking Group and Low6 are already signed up to take part on Monday December 6th, with several more club partners due to sign-up in the coming weeks.

Bianca added: “I’d urge anyone who has ever considered taking part to do it.

“People do have concerns about where they’ll sleep and how ‘basic’ it will be. It’s not intended to replicate the real horror of homelessness, and we will never truly understand what it must be like to be frightened and alone without a place to call home.

“The events raise money and change lives – not just those in need, but also the lives of business owners who may choose to do things a little differently as a result of their experience.

“We do have a list of allowed provisions, such as sleeping bags, sleeping mats and earplugs – believe me, if you think you’re a silent sleeper, you’re wrong!

“However, I always like to say it could be the best night’s sleep you’ll ever get because you could change someone’s life.”

Since the charity was founded in 2014, CEO Sleepout events have been held at venues across the country, including at Wembley Stadium, Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Fratton Park, The Alnwick Garden and Lord’s Cricket Ground. Its events have raised more than £2.9 million to date.

If you’re interested in signing up for the CEO Sleepout visit: www.ceosleepoutuk.com/brum

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