"We didn’t experience the half of what it is like being homeless" - our CEO Sleepout experience - My CMS

Chloe Warnes and Claire Milburn (pictured above with colleague Brooke Parker) both work for Changing Lives as part of the North Tyneside Recovery Partnership (NTRP). This month they took part in the CEO Sleepout Northumberland, and shared their experience with us.

Chloe: I decided to take part in the CEO Sleepout this year after I started working for Changing Lives and dealing with people experiencing homelessness on a day-to-day basis.

Claire: I decided to take part in the CEO Sleepout this year as this time last year I completed a work placement working with the South Tyneside Homeless Response Team. I experienced first-hand the reality of homelessness and the complex issues surrounding the people we support.

The three of us travelled up from North Tyneside to Alnwick Gardens. We were nervous on how cold the night was going to be and already missing our warm, cosy beds.

Chloe: I remember setting up my sleeping bag, lying in it and thinking, “Ooh, this is quite warm.” As the night progressed it got colder and colder, dropping down to -7 degrees. Reportedly the coldest night in Northumberland!

My feet were frozen, my nose was a block of ice and without the warmth and comfort of my own bed, I got no sleep the whole night. It was a relief when it finally hit 6am knowing I had completed it.

Claire: I was in the mind-set that this was only for one night but didn’t anticipate how uncomfortable and cold it would be. I knew I was safe and watched over, which is in contrast to people who are living homeless.

A sheet of ice covered our sleeping bags over the night. As we walked back to the car, we talked about what it would be like having nowhere to go tonight, no money and no safety.

We can’t compare our experience to those who are homeless.

We didn’t experience the half of what it is like being homeless.

This scared us.

We raised £530 but along with the donations we feel we have raised awareness and support from others.

Our next CEO Sleepout event will take place in Newcastle (St James’ Park) in March 2020. We hope this one will be our biggest one yet! You can sign up online to take part and support Changing Lives – just select “Changing Lives” in the “How did you hear about the event” drop-down box when you fill out the form.

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