WATCH: Hardy fund-raisers will give up their beds to sleep rough outside

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Chief executives, business owners and entrepreneurs from across Northumberland will give up a night of comfort to sleep out at an iconic visitor attraction this autumn to raise money to help homeless people.

Participants will swap the luxury of their beds for sleeping bags and layers of clothing, with temperatures plummeting through the night in the grounds of The Alnwick Garden for just one night.

Some of those to attend today's launch. Picture by crest photography

Some of those to attend today's launch. Picture by crest photography

The aim will be to raise much-needed funds and highlight the challenges of homelessness and poverty in Northumberland and the North East.

The Alnwick Garden Trust is joining forces with national charity CEO Sleepout UK for the sleepover, which will take place on Wednesday, October 5.

Funds raised during the sponsored sleepout will go towards homeless projects in the region, including The People’s Kitchen, in Newcastle. The event also aims to raise awareness about the issues faced by the homeless.

Natasha Addis, head of charity programmes at the Trust, said: “We are honoured to host our first sleepout for the homeless at The Garden.

“We need help from our region’s entrepreneurs, business leaders and influencers to raise sponsorship to recognise and raise funds for the hardship and suffering by the homeless in our region – especially in the larger rural areas where homelessness is not so easily recognisable.

“We really do need to raise as much money as possible at the sleepout and will be grateful for as much support as possible.”

CEO Sleepout UK was founded by North East entrepreneur and philanthropist Andy Preston in 2013. He said: “We have held many CEO Sleepouts across the UK, but never in such a large rural area as Northumberland, so we are delighted to join forces with The Garden.

“We hope to bring together some inspiring local business people who are passionate about their region and community, with a one-off experience of how it feels to be homeless.

“It will be cold, uncomfortable and likely to be a sleepless night, but the outcome of which will be to raise a significant amount of money and awareness for the homeless.”

The fund-raiser was launched at The Alnwick Garden today. Those to attend the launch included Scarlett Moffatt, who is a star of popular reality TV show Gogglebox, as well as local shopowners like Carlo Biagioni (Carlo’s Fish Shop and chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade) and Lisa Aynsley (Hotspur 1364). Others to be at the launch included Claire Barber PR; Stephen Purvis, chairman, Policy North; Natasha Addis, head of charity programmes at The Alnwick Garden; and Mark Brassell, director of The Alnwick Garden; among others. Mr Biagioni said he was going to encourage Chamber of Trade members to take part in the initiative.

To register, visit the website www.ceosleepoutuk.com/northumberland/ or email enquiries@alnwickgarden.com or info@alnwickgarden.com