Cold Feet, Warm Hearts

April 16th, 2015


More than 100 Teessiders will brave a cold spring night by sleeping rough to help fight local poverty and homelessness this Friday night (April 17).

Hardy souls will give up their home comforts for the fifth Big Tees Sleepout, which takes place at Durham University’s Queen’s Campus in Stockton for the first time.

Organised by charitable movement Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, the sleepout aims to raise as much money as possible for those suffering poverty or homelessness, whilst shining a light on the issues.

The fourth sleepout, held at Middlesbrough College in November last year, saw 160 big-hearted Teessiders raise a record-breaking £20,000, meaning the four events have smashed through the £65,000-mark.

With 120 people set to take part on Friday, it means more than 500 fundraisers will have taken part since the Big Tees Sleepout was launched by co-founders Andy Preston and Joanna Wake.

The Philanthropic Foundation’s Mandy Shields said: “This is a night for cold feet but warm hearts.

“We’re so grateful to all the brave people who are giving up their comfortable beds for a night on the streets, and we’re grateful to Durham University for stepping in to give us a new venue.”

Among those taking part on Friday is Foundation trustee Alastair Waite, who will arrive in a dinner suit, having been speaker at a dinner for Handelsbanken in Darlington earlier the same evening.

Businessman Alastair, CEO of consultancy Altrelli, is donating his £500 speaker fee to the Big Tees Sleepout, while Handelsbanken are conducting a table collection during the dinner.

Two years ago Alastair raised £3,850 when taking part in the first ever CEO Sleepout at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium.

Others taking part include staff from Tesco Express in Billingham.

Customer assistant Jasmine Davies, who will be joined by manager Paul Rowe and staff Tammy Hopwood and Hayley Tait on the sleepout, said they are prepared for a sleepless night.

“We’re not expecting a very comfortable night but it will make us more aware of what some people face on a daily basis,” said Jasmine, who is also taking part in a sponsored bungee jump later this year to raise fund for Macmillan Cancer Support.

“Our customers have been very generous in sponsoring, though they think we’re mad for doing it!”

Staff at Nando’s in Middlesbrough – Bryde Russell, James Allyson, Laura Mason, Emilly Williams, Gemma Knight and Phil Sterry – have already beaten their £300 fundraising target, thanks to the generosity of friends and customers.

Bryde said: “We’re up for the challenge and excited to raise some money for a good cause.”

Another staff team sleeping rough will represent Yarm’s Thomas Rea Funeral Directors, while homeless lads and staff from Stockton’s Bridgehouse Mission will also be there.

Among the causes set to benefit from the sleepout are local food banks, Middlesbrough Sports Academy for those in recovery from addiction or homelessness and the Stockton-based Moses Project that provides meals for addicts, homeless and struggling families.

For more details about the Big Tees Sleepout, visit

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