My Big Sleepout
On May 16 I’m joining up with CEO’s from across the region for an overnight sleepout at Lancashire Cricket Club’s Emirates Old Trafford.
CEO Sleepout UK is a new and lean charity which has already worked with partners to hold events at prestigious venues like Wembley Stadium, Cardiff Castle and St James’ Park Newcastle.
Around 500 executives have taken part in the sleepouts and together have raised over £680,000 to fight homelessness and poverty in the UK.
When I was approached to get involved I had to say yes. I spend a lot of my time supporting and working with good causes including We Love MCR, Hattersley Junior football club, Level Playing Field, and the Centre for access to football in Europe. So why get involved with CEO sleep out?
Over 35 years ago an uncle of mine found himself homeless, due to a family breakdown. Before we found out he was homeless he had been sleeping rough in Gorton, and then was arrested for lighting a fire in a disused building to keep warm. He then went into Risley remand centre and later transferred to a mental institution in Crumpsall.
My uncle spent the rest of his life on prescription drugs and died in his early 60’s. He was a hard working man, kind and always a joker. But the family breakdown brought about a downward spiral into homelessness and poor health.
Fast forward to 2010 I began to have my own difficulties, my private life began to fall apart and it was entirely my fault. However the guilt, the worry and the pressure to not let family, friends, clients and colleagues down lead me into deep depression and to places in my mind I would never want to go again.
I was blessed to have loving children and an unbelievably strong and loving wife who looked beyond my actions and looked purely at my state of mind.
Depression takes many forms, and can affect anyone no matter what your status in life is. Many homeless people suffer from depression and must not be treated as people who just don’t have a home to go to, they have no one to go to. In many cases this is the real issue.
By taking part in the CEO sleepout it will not just be about raising money for homeless and vulnerable people in Manchester it will be a reminder to myself that without my family and the great people around me, my life could have been very different.