BUSINESS people working around Teesside and Darlington came together to spend a night in the cold to raise money for homelessness charities.

A CEO Sleepout was held at Darlington's Northern Echo Arena on Thursday, with 34 people taking part, who are trying to raise £25,000 to combat homelessness.

The event was part of a national initiative that encourages businesspeople to help raise money to combat homelessness.

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Those taking part in this year’s event included staff from Sirius Group and the Lyndsay Hogg, chief executive of Hogg Global Logistics LTD, whose brother Kevin flew from Dubai to join her in the event.

Chief executive Bianca Robinson said: “It was inspiring to see so many people come together for such a good cause.

“The atmosphere on the night was wonderful and, despite the cold, knowing we were helping people across the region generated a really warm feeling.”

The Northern Echo:

Managing director of My Marketing Button, Margaret Bradshaw said: “One lesson I’ve learned throughout my involvement with this event is the power of kindness – it takes as little as a minute to change someone’s life and make a real difference.

“There’s a surreal atmosphere here, and it’s fantastic to see so many people come together to raise awareness. It’s definitely an experience worth having and it’s a very liberating feeling to be involved.”

Since the charity was founded in 2013, events have been held at venues across the country, including Wembley Stadium, Lord's Cricket Ground, St James' Park, Old Trafford cricket ground and Alnwick Garden, raising £2.9 million to date.

Michael Taylor, CEO of Contego Environmental Services, has supported the Darlington sleepout for the past three years and has raised over £3,500 to date. He added: “It’s such a special event and I participate because homelessness can sometimes be hidden, and the CEO Sleepout allows us to not only raise awareness but also give back.”

Money raised will go towards fighting poverty and homelessness, including the Poverty Hurts Appeal, which was launched last month.

The appeal is part of County Durham Community Foundation’s mission to improve the lives of people in the region, and brings businesses and communities together to fight excess winter deaths, reduce poverty-related suffering, and help the one-in-three local children living in poverty.

Foundation chief executive Michelle Cooper said: “We are so grateful for the support this event has offered to our appeal, and we will make all the money raised works as hard as possible to combat the poverty, seen and unseen, in our communities.

“Like homelessness, poverty is a sign that people are slipping through the net, and this can have a devastating effect on families and the elderly. To see local businesspeople, who are well known and respected, draw attention to this important cause, is incredibly important.”

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