Consultants sleep rough to help London's homeless

03 November 2017 3 min. read

Six consulting industry figures were among almost 100 participants of the 2017 CEOSleepout. The annual charity event, which aims to help London’s growing homeless population, has raised over £1 million since its nationwide launch in 2010.

As the Bank of England predicted as many as 75,000 jobs could be lost from Europe’s financial hub after Brexit, there were probably a number of Chief Executives in London who had sleepless nights this week. However, none are likely to have had it as rough as those who packed into Lord’s Cricket Ground to spend the night outdoors on Monday 30th October 2017, as part of the CEOSleepout charity campaign.

Almost 100 senior level members of the City’s business community were invited to give up their bed for one night in order to help those who don’t have one at all. Participants of CEOSleepout were asked to lead by example by braving the cold and sleeping outdoors, as the UK’s capital saw its coldest night of the month. The organisation cites its ultimate goal as helping to make London “a fairer and even better place in which to live, work and do business,” and according to the CEOSleepout website, 97 business figures were listed as participating to do precisely that, sleeping – or attempting to sleep – side-by-side with their peers to raise awareness and funds for homeless people in London.

Chris Burke, Andrew West, Clive Shore, Andy Parsons, Daniel Cole

Homelessness in the UK has reached an all-time high – with over 236,000 people listed as homeless in 2016, a figure that is expected to more than double to over half a million by 2041. In the same time period, it has been calculated that the number of people sleeping rough will quadruple from 9,100 in 2016 to 40,100, with London recording the highest number of rough sleepers. Boosting the profile of the growing issue, CEOSleepout  has raised over £1 million for homeless causes since its inception in 2010.

Among the numerous business personalities in attendance, six members of the UK consulting industry braved the elements in the name of charity. Andrew West, Managing Director and EALA Financial Services Technology Delivery Lead at Accenture UK, attended the sleep-out, along with Clive Shore, Managing Director of Inquira Consulting, and Andy Parsons, COO of brand consultancy Pollitt & Partners. The executives were joined by Rajeskar Gosh, a Program Analyst from Cognizant, and Daniel Cole, a Partner at accounting and consulting firm Hale & Company.

The CEO of Brikendon Consulting, Chris Burke, CEO, spent the night at Lord’s as well – raising over £1,000 in the process. The Chief Executive of the award-winning financial management and technology consultancy said of his involvement, "It is staggering to see that homelessness is still such a big issue in a developed country like the UK. With everything going on around us, it is easy to forget that many people don’t have a home to go to and are in need of help to find a bed for the night. At Brickendon, transforming the local community is embedded at the core of our business, and we actively encourage our employees to give back and tackle social issues."

Earlier this year, Brickendon were a major financial sponsor to Doctors Adrift, where two British Doctors successfully rowed 3,600 miles across the Indian Ocean raising over £100,000 for Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). Other corporate social responsibility efforts of note in the consulting world in 2017 include that of Mazars and of PwC, who both participated in British bicycle tours for charity, while in celebration of their 50th birthday, Capgemini challenged employees to each walk, run, cycle or swim for a sponsored kilometre worth €1, with the aim of raising a total of €100,000 for three selected charities. Scandinavian firm QVARTZ also partook in their own incredible journey, sending two dedicated employees on a marathon drive from Denmark to Mongolia in aid of Go Help, a Mongolia-based NGO providing healthcare and education support to the remote nation.