Portsmouth bosses set to unite for a sponsored sleepout to fight homelessness

Mark Waldron, editor of The News, with  Clare Martin from Pompey in The Community and Mark Catlin from Portsmouth Football Club, preparing to sleep out on the grounds of Portsmouth Football Club for the Pomoey CEO Sleepout     ''Picture :  Habibur Rahman
Mark Waldron, editor of The News, with Clare Martin from Pompey in The Community and Mark Catlin from Portsmouth Football Club, preparing to sleep out on the grounds of Portsmouth Football Club for the Pomoey CEO Sleepout ''Picture : Habibur Rahman

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BUSINESS bosses will swap briefcases for sleeping bags when they spend a night outside to fight homelessness.

Executives of Portsmouth Football Club, Pompey in the Community and The News are set to unite for the city’s take on the CEO Sleepout in April.

The national fundraising initiative invites leading figures across the country to endure a sponsored sleep in the open air of their own communities, to raise cash for local causes fighting homelessness.

On April 16, 2018, business leaders are being invited to set up camp at Fratton Park – in a bid to smash the whopping £92,000 Sleepout fundraising record achieved by Newcastle’s business community earlier this year.

Among those taking part in the city’s effort is Mark Catlin, CEO of Portsmouth Football Club.

As he gears up to spend a night on the pitch which unites the city week-in-week-out, the chief hopes the sleepout will shine a light on Portsmouth’s generosity.

He said: ‘I was only too keen to get involved with the CEO Sleepout.

‘As a city, what we are great at doing is coming together for a worthy cause.

‘The number of people who are homeless is a real shame on our country and our city, so it is something we should be working together to try and eradicate.’

Set to join him is Clare Martin, who helms one of the city’s favourite causes – Pompey in the Community.

She said: ‘I can’t wait to take part in the CEO Sleepout – this is something very close to my heart. We work a lot with the city’s homeless and those who have nowhere to go.

‘Although we are putting a light-hearted touch on this event, we fully understand the seriousness of this situation and how much worse it is getting.’

Cash raised by the Pompey CEO Sleepout will be split three ways between the national drive itself, Pompey in the Community and Hampshire-based homelessness charity the Society of St James (SSJ).

Throughout the year, SSJ works to alleviate rough sleeping and life on the margins for more than 2,500 people in The News area.

If you are a business head and would like to take part in the initiative, or a potential donor wanting to find out more, click here.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED:

Q: When will the Pompey CEO Sleepout take place?

A: The sleepout itself will take place on April 16, 2018 at Fratton Park

Q: Can I join the sleepout?

A: You can join the sleepout if you are the head of a business in, around or near Portsmouth

Q: How can I donate to the Pompey CEO Sleepout?

A: To donate, text ‘PITC17 £’, followed by your desired donation amount in pounds, to 70070. Alternatively, you can donate online through the Pompey CEO Sleepout’s Just Giving page, at justgiving.com/fundraising/pitcceo

Q: What will my money go towards?

A: After the Pompey CEO Sleepout takes place, all donations made will be split three-ways between the Society of St James, Pompey in the Community and the national CEO Sleepout initiative

SOCIETY OF ST JAMES WILL BENEFIT

SET to receive a third of the cash raised by the Pompey CEO Sleepout, the Society of St James (SSJ) is one of the city’s largest support networks for those fighting homelessness.

Jane Smith, operations director for the SSJ’s homelessness and supported housing service, said: ‘The SSJ provides an essential service for so many on the margins of Portsmouth’s society. We are really pleased to be on the benefitting end of the Pompey CEO Sleepout campaign.

‘By raising money and awareness for the issue Portsmouth faces, I hope we can begin to tackle this rising problem.’

To learn more about the SSJ, visit ssj.org.uk.

THE EDITOR OF THE NEWS WILL BE SLEEPING OUT

THE EDITOR of The News, Mark Waldron, will join CEOs in bedding down for the night at Fratton Park on April 16.

As The Pompey CEO Sleepout campaign launched today, he said: ‘This is a fantastic initiative which I am happy to sign both The News and myself up to. There is an increasing number of people sleeping out on our streets.

‘The fact I am consciously choosing to spend just one night out does not compare to what they endure day-in-day-out. Through the CEO Sleepout we can raise money for local good causes as well as raising awareness of the plight of the homeless.’

‘BUSINESSES CAN BE A FORCE FOR GOOD’

AS the brainchild of founder Andy Preston, the CEO Sleepout has raised more than £1.4m for good causes across the nation since 2013.

With Portsmouth set to join the fun next year, Mr Preston said: ‘Portsmouth is a prosperous and optimistic city, but like anywhere else, it has its challenges.

‘This entire initiative all began when I was approached by business leaders who wanted to help make a difference – now we really are.

‘And as the founder of the CEO Sleepout, I am delighted to be working with the city of Portsmouth to show people that business too can be compassionate and a force for good.’