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Sleeping rough in support of homelessness

Ben at Fratton Park for CEO Sleepout
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On Thursday 27th April 2023, I took part in the CEO Sleepout in Portsmouth to raise money for an important cause: Homelessness.

Did you know, anyone is only three months from living on the street? Official rough sleeping statistics from Big Issue showed an estimated 3,069 people sleeping rough across England on a single night in autumn 2022.

So I wanted to play my part in raising both awareness and vital funds to help tackle homelessness. 

What is the CEO Sleepout?

CEO Sleepout is a charity that raises money to fight homelessness and poverty across the UK. Money is raised by business executives who are sponsored to sleep rough for a night.

I’ve wanted to do the CEO Sleepout a couple of times but always backed out. However, this year I felt it was the right thing to do as homelessness is something we see every day, especially around Portsmouth. Those living on the street don’t get the chance to back out so why should I.

The overwhelming support

The support I’ve received from friends, family and work partners has been amazing. Together, everyone has helped me to raise over £1,000 for charities in Portsmouth. Along with the other CEO Sleepers, we’ve raised more than £25,000, which is absolutely incredible.

Sleeping rough for the night

I’ve now experienced what it was like to sleep rough. To sleep on a slab of concrete with nothing but a sleeping bag. But a huge difference was the fact I knew I’d be back in my bed the following night. 

The night's sleep was as rubbish as you think it would be. It’s impossible to get a good night’s rest and my shoulders were bruised for a few days from sleeping on concrete. I was so thankful to know I was safe inside the walls of Fratton Park stadium but it quickly became apparent how vulnerable you’d be sleeping on the street. Homelessness is a truly horrible thing and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

My biggest takeaway

The biggest takeaway I got from the night was to just chat with the homeless. Ask if they want a coffee or sandwich and check if they have milk or if they’re lactose free. If you can, avoid just putting food or drink in their hands and walking off. 

How you can help

I’m still raising money so if you have a pound or two to spare, please do donate to this worthwhile cause. Thank you!

If you’re a business executive in the UK, take a look at the CEO Sleepout website and see if there’s an upcoming event local to you. 

The night sky at Fratton Park for CEO Sleepout
My view for the night
Lying on the cold concrete in the stands at Fratton Park
Me struggling to sleep