Posted June 2020
KU Children’s Services CEO, Christine Legg, will be taking part in this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout.
Each year hundreds of CEOs, business owners, and community and government leaders, sleep outdoors in one of the longest and coldest nights of the year, to raise funds for the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Funds raised through the event will provide people experiencing homelessness and people at risk of homelessness with vital access to food and accommodation, as well as education, counselling, employment and health services to help them overcome poverty in the long term.
Ms Legg had considered participating in the event for some time and decided to take part this year after a former colleague invited her to support the cause.
“As a female I’m choosing to do this because I want to highlight the growing number of women over 55 who are homeless and living in their cars, and the growing number of young families also living in cars” said Ms Legg.
According to a recent report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, almost 7,000 older women were homeless in Australia in 2016.
Furthermore, as Australia’s ageing population continues to grow, and with women having significantly less superannuation in retirement on average than men, the issue of homelessness amongst women is a growing one.
While Ms Legg spends her days leading an organisation that is committed to providing high quality early childhood education and care programs for young children and their families, including some of society’s most vulnerable children and families, she has now found a way to make the night-time count too.
“The CEO Sleepout project is similar to the social impact work that KU does in that it’s about helping people to try to break a cycle, as there are a growing number of young families in this position including single mothers with children.”
“Homelessness can happen quickly – people can lose their job, have a relationship break up and can’t afford their rent. Through participating in the CEO Sleepout, I am wanting to raise awareness of homelessness and do my small part in making a difference to the lives of people who find themselves in these situations every night across Australia,” said Ms Legg.
In previous years, those participating in the CEO Sleepout have slept outside between cardboard, however due to the impact of COVID-19 as well as safety reasons, the event will be held virtually this year, with people participating from home by sleeping in their car, backyard or on their lounge while raising vital funds.
While the event may look different this year, Ms Legg is committed to making the experience feel as real as it is for those who are homeless. There will be no comfortable blow up mattress or hot water bottle, only a pillow, sleeping bag and thermos as she sleeps in her car.
Ms Legg has joined several other female CEOs who will also be sleeping in their cars for the event. Their group ‘For Her’ includes Robyn Monro Miller, CEO Kids Giving Back; Julie Hourigan-Ruse, CEO FAMS; and Jennifer Evans, CEO Downs Syndrome Association of NSW.
The money Ms Legg has raised so far will pay for 3 individual support programs, 10 nights of accommodation, and 40 meals, and she is hoping to raise even more funds.
The ‘For Her’ team page can be found at https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/fundraisers/forher and Ms Legg’s individual fundraising page can be found at https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/fundraiser/christinelegg
For more information about the Vinnies CEO Sleepout visit https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/