CANBERRA Friday, 21 June 2013

Vinnies Canberra CEO Sleepout - The Morning After

Our Canberra CEOs experienced the coldest weather conditions of all the participating cities in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout last night. Participants battled to keep warm in temperatures as low as -5 degrees. But despite the grim conditions, morale was high with many CEOs choosing to stay awake and use the freezing weather conditions as grounds for seeking more funds from sponsors through many social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube .

The formal proceedings on the night were hosted by Ms Jo Laverty from ABC radio and included a moving address and animation about the life of the CEO from G.E.T Security, Mr Glen Tibbitts, about his personal experience with homelessness.
This years’ Top Fundraiser was Clinton Hutchinson from Zoo Advertising who raised $28,725, just beating off a challenge from Katherine Campbell from the Department of Human Services who raised $27,875 . Clinton was just tipped over the line with some last minute support from Truglaze – Double Glazing, who made a one off donation of $5000. Clinton’s fundraising efforts were also boosted by his Help from the Underground fashion event.


“Last year we came up with an idea to run fashion show called “Help from the Underground” with op-shop clothes sourced from Vinnies centres, which was a huge success. We decided to run this charity fundraising event again but make it even bigger. Last year we had 500 guests and this year 670 registered. Events like this are great ways to drive donations. But they do much more than that. They provide an opportunity to educate around the issues of homelessness and heighten the profile of the problem” says Clinton Hutchinson from Zoo Advertising.

“This is my third year in a row sleeping outdoors. I always shiver at the thought and shiver through the night, no matter how rugged up I am. This year was super uncomfortable, with temperatures dipping to below xxx. I didn’t get much sleep and kept thinking about how at least I get to go home and have a hot shower. My experience was only one night. It’s horrible and unacceptable to think that so many people in this affluent city have to cope with these conditions all the time” said Clinton Hutchinson from Zoo Advertising.
Being the number 1 fundraiser, Clinton had the opportunity to experience other forms of homelessness with his choice of couch surfing on a couch or reclining chair or in the back of a car. Clinton chose, however, to do what he turned up to do and sleep on his three sheets of cardboard.

The 144 participating CEOs arrived at the Civic Square out the front of Canberra Museum and Gallery on Thursday evening bringing nothing but a sleeping bag. The CEOs were given a bowl of soup and a bread roll, and after being provided with three pieces of cardboard, selected a place to sleep. Then it was time for the CEOs to crawl into their sleeping bags and experience what it is like for thousands of people around Australia who do not have a roof over their heads.

At 5.15am on Friday, weary participants were greeted with a bowl of cereal and a greater appreciation for what it is like to not have a home. Reflecting on their overnight experience, most participants agreed that their perceptions of homelessness had been greatly challenged.
So would participants get involved in the CEO Sleepout next year?

“Absolutely,” said Ms Kathryn Campbell, Secretary of the Department of Human Services. “I can’t think of a better way to get a reality check about how lucky I am and do something positive to change the situation around homelessness in Canberra.”

Paul Trezise CEO of St Vincent de Paul says “In the ACT the number of people recorded as being homeless rose from 949 in 2006 to 1785 in 2011, giving the ACT the dubious honour of having the 2nd highest rate of homelessness in Australia. In such an affluent city as Canberra it is not acceptable that we have such a high rate of homelessness”.

“It is never too late to do something about homelessness; by donating to the CEO Sleepout you are helping us break the cycle of homelessness in the Canberra Goulburn region”.

Canberra participants have so far raised over $422,000 and donations are received up to 31st August 2013. People can donate or pre-register for the 2014 event by visiting