A Wake-Up Call: Milton Keynes Business Leaders Encouraged to Sleep Out

Posted 24th October 2023

Business leaders are being urged to brave the cold and spend a night sleeping outdoors to help tackle homelessness in Milton Keynes.

The latest CEO Sleepout is taking place on November 16 at Milton Keynes College’s Bletchley Campus.

Currently, Milton Keynes has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the UK while rising rents and the cost-of-living crisis are pushing more people onto the city’s streets.

According to the homelessness charity, Shelter, there were 2,336 people housed in temporary accommodation across the city last year, while on any given night, 18 people slept rough.

“That equates to one in every 122 people in Milton Keynes who go to bed without a secure roof over their head – that’s a shocking figure in this day and age,” said CEO Sleepout chief executive Bianca Robinson.

“The aim of CEO Sleepout is to bring awareness and unlock compassion around this all while raising big money for charities who are working so hard to help people change their lives – and we need you, the business community, to help us.”

Having launched in 2013, CEO Sleepout has raised almost £4m for charities and good causes trying to tackle Britain’s worsening homelessness problem.

One business leader who has played a pivotal role in previous Milton Keynes sleepouts is Concept Personnel CEO, Jo Carter.

She was recently named an ambassador for the charity due to her support over the years, and said the event was of “vital importance” to those experiencing homelessness.

“It’s a transformative experience that not only raises crucial awareness about homelessness but also challenges our perspectives,” added Jo.

“It’s a humbling experience, reminding me how lucky I am to have a home. I urge others to join this cause, to raise both funds and awareness, to support those who need it most.”

In 2019, the Government vowed to “end the blight of rough sleeping”. However, figures published earlier this year showed that across the UK, rough sleeping had risen for the first time in half a decade.

And last year, Shelter ominously warned that there would likely be a “sharp rise” in homelessness across the UK amid the gloomy economic situation.

With the problem in Milton Keynes particularly dire, Bianca said it was vital that CEO Sleepout returned to the city to raise both money for charity along with awareness of the current problem – and has called on the business community to “pull together and play your part”.

“Sleeping outdoors in November may be a daunting prospect, but for some that is an unwanted daily reality,” she added.

“By signing up, you will unlock a deeper understanding of just how hard life on the street can be for those who don’t get to return to a warm house, or a loving family.

“Despite the cold, the CEO Sleepout events are filled with warmth – from inspiring stories and a sense of togetherness – whilst you also have the chance to raise much-needed money that could potentially change local lives forever.”

One of the 2023 participants Amanda Wright, creative director and founder of Yellowyoyo. She took part five years ago and is “grateful for the opportunity” to return.

“Taking part in the 2019 CEO Sleepout gave me a glimpse into the challenges of sleeping outside. I was fully aware of course that I’d be safe at home the following night and that many don’t have that luxury,” added Amanda.

“One night outside can in no way equal the brutal reality of a homeless experience, but it’s a humbling way to partly appreciate the hardship, acknowledge the comforts we may easily take for granted and to step up to help in some small way.

“I’m proud to take part again this year, alongside leaders seeking to make a difference.”

For more information on the event, and to sign up, visit https://www.ceosleepout.co.uk/milton-keynes/