Business leaders brave sub-zero temperatures at The Alnwick Garden to mark World Homeless Day

Business leaders braved sub-zero temperatures to sleep out at The Alnwick Garden and raise awareness of homelessness.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 11:24 am
Updated Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 11:39 pm
Participants in the sleep out at The Alnwick Garden.

More than 60 people – including three Northumberland County Council employees – swapped their comfy beds for sleeping bags and -7 degrees temperatures, to mark World Homeless Day.

The aim was to raise much-needed funds for charity and highlight the challenges of homelessness and poverty in the region.

The council volunteers were Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service chief fire officer Paul Hedley and homelessness officers Susan McBrearty and Lisa Goodridge.

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Paul, who was raising money to support North East ex-military homeless into housing and work, said: “It was a desperately cold night. We just had to endure it for one night, knowing that the next night we’d be back in the comfort and warmth of our own homes.

“For the many who sleep rough this is their daily grim existence as they have to experience discomfort, hunger and extreme cold, day in day out, night in night out.

“Having a decent roof over your head is a fundamental right. No one should be forced to live on the streets. Unfortunately it is the most vulnerable, the young, those suffering from substance misuse or domestic violence who are most at risk.”

Susan admitted: “I have to be honest I didn’t get much sleep. Despite my sleeping bag and layers of clothing the temperatures plummeted through the night and it was very cold and frosty. In the depths of winter it must be unbearable for those sleeping rough and living on the streets.”

“Homelessness is a country-wide issue but something local authorities, key partners and local charities are working together on to try and eradicate.”

The event was organised by The Alnwick Garden Trust and the CEO Sleepout.

CEO Sleepout’s CEO, Bianca Robinson, said: “Our team of 60 CEOs and business leaders across Northumberland were fantastic sleeping out on what proved to be the coldest night of 2019 so far! Together, they’ve raised an incredible sum of money which will make a huge difference to the work of local charities in supporting those in Northumberland who are most in need.”