THE managing director behind the region’s largest housing development is set to sleep rough for a night at Fratton Park.
Buckland Development’s John Beresford will join more than 65 business leaders for the Pompey CEO Sleepout on Monday.
The drive will see thousands of pounds raised for a trio of good causes working to tackle homelessness.
Mr Beresford – who has been at Winchester-based Buckland Development for a year – will also be joined by the firm’s executive chairman and newly-appointed high sheriff of Hampshire, Mark Thistlethwayte.
The pair are spearheading Buckland’s delivery of the new 6,000-home town Welborne, north of Fareham.
Mr Beresford said: ‘Buckland supports a lot of community initiatives but this one stood out to me because it’s housing-related.
‘When we deliver Welborne we will provide homes for a diverse spectrum of people and needs, which is likely to include temporary emergency accommodation. This along with initiatives to help people learn trades will give those in need a hand to get back on their feet.’
With a job connected to the notion of what it means to have a home, Mr Beresford said the spike in rough sleepers on the streets in and around Portsmouth had been noticeable.
Government figures from January indicated numbers in Portsmouth had increased by 14 per cent since 2016, to 42.
‘We’ve all seen an increase in recent years of people sleeping rough in our cities, so we are even more aware of this problem,’ said Mr Beresford.
‘While we are only sleeping out for one night, it will ensure decision-makers have a sense of what it’s like to bed down on the street.’
Among the others set to sleep out on Monday are Mark Waldron, editor of The News, Pompey CEO Mark Catlin, Pompey in the Community CEO Clare Martin and Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones.