Last night over 200 business and community leaders spent a cold, wet Melbourne night camping out on the steps of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) for the 2016 Vinnies CEO Sleepout.
The eleventh annual St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies) event was hosted by MCEC for the second year running, with MCEC’s own Director of People and Culture, Helen Fairclough sleeping rough to raise awareness and funds for homelessness.
“The Sleepout gives you a small glimpse into life on the streets, and it was rather overwhelming to experience what so many Australian’s face every night, especially families, women and younger people.
“It’s so important to gather together to bring attention to this significant issue. MCEC Executives have been taking part in the Sleepout for the last five years, and the entire organisation gets behind us each year to raise crucial funds.
“We’re immensely proud of our partnership with Vinnies and are looking forward to supporting this great community event for many more years to come,” Ms Fairclough added.
Each night more than 100,000 people find themselves without a safe place to sleep across Australia, with just under half female and almost a third children. The Sleepout plays a vital role in helping to fund Vinnies’ hostels and homelessness shelters, outreach programs and support services.
Vinnies Victoria CEO, Sue Cattermole said the event helps to highlight the changing face of homelessness and shift community perceptions.
“The event is a practical way for influential members of our community to step outside their comfort zone and to demonstrate their commitment to the provision of housing solutions and support services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, helping to send a strong message that homelessness needs our collective attention and considered action.
“On behalf of Vinnies Victoria, I would like to offer my personal thanks to MCEC for generously donating their time, resources and venue to this meaningful community event,” Ms Cattermole said.
MCEC’s chefs donated 70 litres of soup, 20 litres of milk and 15kg of their house-made yoghurt, plus complimentary coffee from MCEC’s newly opened Shed Café to refuel participants this morning. All AV requirements were also provided free of charge. These donated additions help to ensure every dollar raised from the Sleepout goes towards supporting the cause.
MCEC is committed to supporting and growing its community impact through supporting events and charities such as the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, Royal Children’s Good Friday Appeal, Variety Australia, Starlight Children’s Foundation, and is an active supporter of Launch Housing and SecondBite.