44 millimetres of rain in Adelaide last Thursday didn’t dampen the spirits of the 125 business and community leaders who took part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout at Lot Fourteen, with a record $908,809 being raised to help fund the organisation’s homelessness services. The previous record was $715,000 in 2018, when the event was at Adelaide Oval post redevelopment.
South Australia’s contribution boosted the national tally to a record $8.7 million. Torrential rain earlier in the day was a foreboding sight, and was expected to reduce numbers participating. This proved not to be the case, and those taking part embraced the conditions and continued to call on their networks throughout the evening to support their
Vice-Chancellor and President of Adelaide University, Professor Peter Høj AC, took out highest fundraiser honours, and is closing in on the $45,000 mark. Professor Høj said he was motivated to take part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout when, after returning to Adelaide after being away for eight years, he noticed more people sleeping rough.
‘I live in the city and walk to work every morning, and I had noticed that there were more and more people needing help,’ he said.
Professor Høj kicked off his fundraising with a self-donation, noting it was ‘important to demonstrate your own commitment to the cause.’
Labor Leader Peter Malinausksas, who was participating in his fifth Vinnies CEO Sleepout, told FIVEaa that it’s always a ‘good event.’
‘It’s daunting at the beginning of the night, but when you wake up in the morning and you’ve raised a few quid, it’s worth it,’ he said.
Vinnies CEO Sleepout Louise Miller Frost was delighted with the outcome.
‘We could not have predicted this incredible result, especially given the atrocious weather conditions. However, it seems the rain and cold and the discomfort of sleeping outdoors really hit home, and those who took part were very well supported by generous donations from their friends, family and professional networks.
‘Funds raised will go a long way to supporting people facing homelessness – whether that is by meeting their immediate needs for crisis accommodation, including women fleeing domestic violence; helping to put food on the table, pay bills and rent; or by providing a warm meal through our 10 Fred’s Van meal service locations.
‘We are seeing greater demand for assistance, and we are not expecting that demand to abate any time soon. Those who took part and who may have been feeling sore and sorry for themselves after an uncomfortable night, but they can take great pride in the fact that the record total they each contributed to will make a lasting difference in people’s lives. We are so grateful for their support,’ she said.
Donations can still be made to individual participants or to Vinnies via the CEO Sleepout website – www.ceosleepout.org.au – until 31 July 2021.
Pre-registrations for the 20211 event are now open at www.ceosleepout.org.au