Top women set for big sleepout

A number of prominent women from the business and public life community are sleep rough for a night in a bid to fight poverty and homelessness in Manchester.

The sleepout takes place at Old Trafford Cricket Ground on October 16 and has been arranged by CEO Sleepout.

Business intelligence developer at, Jenna Bowyer and co-founder of Rule 5 Julie Wilson, along with several other women are part of a group of more than 80 business leaders who have signed up so far.

Statistics from national homeless charity Crisis show that while the vast majority of rough sleepers are male, life for women on the streets can be particularly bad, with one in four women sleeping rough having been sexually assaulted in the past year, three in 10 being the subject of sexual violence while homeless, and six in 10 being intimidated or threatened with violence.

Since its foundation in 2013 by businessman and philanthropist Andy Preston, CEO Sleepout has raised more than £1m thanks to support from thousands of executives participating in its sleepouts. In 2016, 87 Manchester business leaders raised £64,000 by sleeping rough with the scheme.

Last year, the funds raised in Manchester were distributed to Manchester charities MASH, Mustard Tree, Lancashire County Cricket Club Foundation, The Booth Centre and The Church Urban Fund.

With a pot of money made available for smaller groups. In addition to the distribution of funds to local charities, a small proportion was used in CEOSleepout’s national campaign.

Preston said: “We’re really pleased to have a number of prominent women from the city joining us for the sleepout, who will help to highlight the needs of women sleeping rough.

“This year we have had a great response from Manchester’s business community and other leading figures from the city’s civic life.

“Our priority as a charity is to raising awareness of the homeless crisis being seen in cities across the country, and this can only be achieved through joint working, so we will continue to work with a range of partners that can affect change and tackling underlying causes of homelessness and prevent it before it occurs.”

Bowyer said: “The plight of homeless women, both here in Manchester and across the UK is a major issue.

“I’m glad to see the city’s business community coming together once again to tackle homelessness, the human cost of which is increasing daily.

“While most rough sleepers tend to be men, those that are women often have a different and perhaps worse experience of being on the streets, so it is important to highlight what they are going through and ensure that the right care is available for them.”

Wilson said: “Homelessness is an issue close to my heart and I’m delighted to join an increasing number of women in this year’s CEO Sleepout, raising not only vital funds but awareness of local charities such as MASH, who provide invaluable support to women living on the streets of Manchester.

“It’s a fantastic event, uniting business leaders from all sectors to tackle what is a growing problem.”