Vinnies CEO Sleepout goes national
|Vinnies State President Barbara Ryan at the launch. Photo: Kerry Myers|
Following its huge success in Sydney last year, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout will go national on Thursday 17 June when hundreds of top CEOs and business leaders will sleep out across Australia.
The event was launched last month in Sydney by the Federal Minister for Housing, Tanya Plibersek, as part of the Vinnies Winter Appeal. The CEO Sleepout aims to raise awareness about homelessness and to raise funds for Vinnies’ homeless services across Australia.
Last year in Sydney alone, more than 200 business leaders slept out at Luna Park to raise $620,000, which wildly exceeded expectations.
This year the event will be held in Sydney, Canberra (Australian Museum), Melbourne (Etihad Stadium), Adelaide (Adelaide Zoo), Perth (WACA), Darwin (The Gardens Oval) and Brisbane (Suncorp Piazza, Southbank) with an income target of more than $1 million. Tasmanian CEOs will sleep out at the Melbourne event
Participating CEOs can register at: http://www.ceosleepout.org.au/
The National CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society, Dr John Falzon, said the CEO Sleepout was rapidly gathering momentum, as evidenced by its national rollout.”
“It captures the real concern in the community about social inequality and an increasing awareness by business that it can have a role in addressing the situation,” he said.
“The night is not an easy one. Participants literally bed down on a sheet of cardboard on the ground, with only a mug of soup to sustain them on what is usually one of the coldest nights of the year. Last year it rained non-stop, but most of those who participated have indicated they will come back this year.
“The experience of stepping into another person’s shoes like this, to get a tiny sense of what it must be like to have no home, can change the way you think about the world. The business leaders who have chosen to do this say it is literally a life-changing experience.”
Dr Falzon said it was especially important for the ‘big end of town’ to understand the issues surrounding homelessness, as they were often the ones who had the power to influence change and make a difference.
“Homelessness is an insidious problem, the causes of which are many and complex,” he said. “While the Australian Bureau of Statistics puts the number of homeless people nationally at around 105,000, including 34,000 children, the actual number is almost impossible to quantify. From where we sit at the coal face, we believe the number is probably much higher.”
Dr Falzon said all the money raised would go to Vinnies’ services including night patrol/soup van services, hostels for men, family services, refuges for women and their children escaping domestic violence, mental health services, and education and recreation facilities offering life skills courses, training and access to medical, legal and financial advice.
You can help by making a donation at: www.vinnies.org.au
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