South Shields businessman roughs it to raise awareness of homelessness
A businessman from South Shields will be roughing it tonight to raise awareness of homelessness and cash for charity.
Phil Morris, head of acquisitions and distribution at wealth management firm, Gale and Phillipson, is taking part in the CEOSleepoutUK at St James’s Park, Newcastle, from 6pm tonight to 6am tomorrow.
Phil, who lives in South Shields, is giving up his home comforts to join around 80 chief executives and senior business people with just a sleeping bag and warm clothes for the night to experience what it’s really like to sleep rough – whatever the weather.
He will be raising awareness and important funds for essential homeless services in Newcastle.
By taking part in the Newcastle Sleepout, he will be supporting a range of local charities that address homelessness, including Changing Lives and Newcastle United Foundation.
In the cityalone, more than 2,000 people are at risk of homelessness - and the true scale of the problem in the North East is much higher than official figures show, according to a report by a leading think tank, the IPPR.
At worst, homelessness can mean sleeping rough on the streets, but the problem is much bigger than that, with many more victims - the ‘hidden homeless’ – squatting, 'sofa surfing' or housed in emergency, supported or temporary accommodation.
Phil said: “Homelessness is a huge problem here in the North East and I felt I had to get involved by giving up my home comforts for just one night.
"I don’t doubt it’ll be tough and cold, but it’ll be nothing compared to what many homeless people face every single night of the year.
“The Newcastle Sleepout usually raises £50,000 for local charities, which is brilliant.
"I’m aiming to raise as much money as I can because helping homeless people is something that I really believe in, and I want to support the many amazing local charities we have here in the North East.”
“The shocking truth is that we could all find ourselves in a difficult situation, and fall into difficult times.
"Unfortunately not everyone is lucky enough to have a job and family as a back-up if things don’t go to plan.”