Leeds-based entrepreneurs sleep rough for homeless charity

Leeds based entrepreneurs will spend the night sleeping outside in support of local homelessness charity, Simon on the Streets at the Royal Armouries on September 28.

Business owners based at growth accelerator programme, Entrepreneurial Spark in Leeds, will join other volunteers at the event which aims to raise funds to combat homelessness in the city centre and raise awareness of the challenges rough sleepers face on a daily basis.

Founded in 1999, Simon on the Streets is an independent charity, which relies solely on sponsorship, fundraising and donations. The charity works with local people who are affected by homelessness and rough sleeping in Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield.

The organisation offers street-support to individuals who have complex needs and cannot access mainstream services, due to behavioural issues or mental illness.

The four entrepreneurs attending the event, Ellie MacDonald; founder of PR agency MacComms, Ross Barr; founder of menswear brand Ross Barr, Richard Michie; founder of Marketing Optimist and Ian Emberton; founder of off-grid renewable energy specialists Xerogrid will have only a cardboard box and a sleeping bag for comfort on the night.

All four entrepreneurs are members of the Natwest ‘Entrepreneurial Spark’ business acceleration initiative.

The event, which provides an opportunity for attendees to learn more about how and why people become homeless, will also feature an inspirational talk from motivational speaker, Richard McCann.

Founder and managing director of MacComms, Ellie MacDonald, said: “I live and work in Leeds city centre and I’ve got to know some of the local rough sleepers well. It’s evident that there is a real problem in our city and I’m keen to do something to combat the issue.

“I have befriended the homeless men that live on the street I work on and outside my flat, and I enjoy having a catch up with them on my way to and from work. Simon on the Streets is a fantastic charity, providing essential support to these people and I am sleeping out to experience a snapshot as to what life is like as a rough sleeper.”

Ian Emberton, founder and managing director of Xerogrid, said: “I think it’s so important to show rough sleepers that people do care and we do want to help them. I’m sleeping out to show my support for the homeless community.”

General manager of Simon on the Streets, Gordon Laing, said: “It’s fantastic that the entrepreneurs are taking part in our sleep-out in Leeds, we really appreciate their continuous support.

“We aim to show people what it’s really like sleeping rough so that they can have a true understanding of the challenges faced by homeless people every single day.”

To find out more about the event, visit http://simononthestreets.co.uk/sleepwithsimon/.


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