Business leaders bed down at Durham Cathedral to highlight homelessness

Sleepers in the Cloisters at Durham Cathedral.
Sleepers in the Cloisters at Durham Cathedral.
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Business leaders came together for a sleep out at Durham Cathedral to raise the issue of homelessness.

Bosses from across the North East got a glimpse into the lives of the homeless, as they slept rough in the Durham Cathedral Cloisters.

Madeleine Ashdown and Kate Curry from DASH.

Madeleine Ashdown and Kate Curry from DASH.

With sponsorship still coming in, the team is on track to exceed last year’s target of £24,000 for charities fighting homelessness in our region.

The CEO Sleepout saw managers from more than 30 businesses taking part, including the cathedral’s own Canon Sophie Jelley, Director of Ministry Discipleship and Mission, Gaye Kirby, Head of Development and Clare Chillingworth, Grant and Major Project Manager.

John Holmes, Chairman of Bernicia Homes, a property development company offering housing solutions to those in need in our community, was one of the sleepers.

He said: "I was proud to represent Bernicia and be part of the group of over 20 people supporting this very worthwhile cause.

Karen Chu from Infinite Storage and Phil Brazier from Go Swim Academy taking part in the sleep out.

Karen Chu from Infinite Storage and Phil Brazier from Go Swim Academy taking part in the sleep out.

"It was great to be able to speak with a number of representatives from the great organisations who work tirelessly to tackle homelessness to understand more about their challenging work and how Bernicia might support them further."

The money raised will be split amongst beneficiary charities who share the mission of helping vulnerable people and alleviating homelessness. The charities include: Hospitality and Hope, Durham Christian Partnership, Changing Lives, Sanctuary 21 and Durham Action on Single Housing (DASH).

Clare Chillingworth, Grants and Projects Manager at Durham Cathedral, said: "I’m astonished at the generosity of those who have kindly supported the CEO Sleepout this year and I am beyond thankful that so many business leaders engaged with the cause.

"I can’t wait to see the impact that the fundraising will have on those fighting the homelessness epidemic, right on our doorstep."

Kirsty Taylor from Release Property Investments.

Kirsty Taylor from Release Property Investments.

A performance by students from East Durham College of Tangent, a contemporary piece of musical theatre, further highlighted the poignancy of the cause on the night.

Using original songs and impassioned words they gave a voice to the issues of poverty and welfare reform which face the former mining community of East Durham.

Bianca Robinson, Chief Operating Officer of the organisation CEO Sleepout, said: "Every year for the past three years, Durham's business community has shown just how much it cares when it comes to tackling homelessness, and has done a wonderful job of helping to make County Durham a fairer place."