21 March 2024

'No one can help all, but all can help one' - Vinnies CEO Sleepout 2024 kicks off

| Dione David
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President of the Senate Senator Sue Lines, Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn CEO Lucy Hohnen, House of Representatives Speaker Milton Dick MP and Department of Parliamentary Services Secretary Rob Stefanic gather at Parliament House for the launch of the 2024 Vinnies CEO Sleepout. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

When ACT Courts and Tribunal CEO and Principal Registrar Amanda Nuttall took part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout last year, ACT Chief Justice Lucy McCallum was rolling out a sleeping bag next to her.

Amanda had “brought in the big guns”, highlighting that, aside from the fundraising outcome, there was great value in asking this particular cohort to rough it and raise awareness (and funds) to help Vinnies combat poverty and homelessness.

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout 2024 has launched, and it’s hoped that the collective impact of these individuals tapping into their vast and powerful networks will help Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn meet its $800,000 goal, helping the organisation to sustain its services across the ACT and surrounding regions.

Vinnies CEO Sleepout 2023: the need is great in 2024 as the cost of living bites more people. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

“I do look forward to it, especially the fundraising part, and reaching out to my networks,” Ms Nuttall says.

“I enjoy the challenge of throwing down the gauntlet to my colleagues across the justice sector to raise as much money as we can.

“I am hoping the Chief Justice will join me again because she has tremendous influence across the national judiciary system.”

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With 50 community and business leaders already on board, Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn anticipates 150 participants for the event, which will be held at Parliament House this year.

For the first time, there will also be two satellite Sleepouts in Young and Merimbula on the same night, representing some of the regions of New South Wales that Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn serves.

Although she didn’t quite meet her goal last year, Ms Nuttall will again aim to raise $12,000. She says fundraising is worth “aiming for the stars”, particularly in an economically challenging climate.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for this particular cohort to come together and reflect on the difficulty a lot of Canberrans face daily, especially as the cost of living rises,” she says.

“We should acknowledge that we all come from a very privileged position in society. It’s easy, in a city like Canberra, to overlook how many people are doing it tough. This is a chance to confront that and ask ourselves what we can do to support our broader community.

“At the end of the day, this is one night of discomfort that lends visibility to Canberrans who are in distress, which will ultimately hopefully help St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn continue their incredible work across a range of programs to support vulnerable people in our community.”

Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn CEO Lucy Hohnen has high hopes for this year’s event, which has set a fundraising target of $800,000. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

As always, the event will offer an immersive, educational experience, inspiring participants to support Vinnies in breaking the cycle of homelessness and aiding those in need in our community.

It’s a sentiment Sunny Homes ACT Director Sunny Malhotra can get behind. He will be rolling out his sleeping bag for the fourth consecutive year, possibly with a pillow, and nothing else.

“It’s only for one night, but I want to make the experience as real and humbling as possible,” he says.

“I want an insight into what Canberrans facing homelessness are experiencing every day. I know I am fortunate to be in the position I am in and that there are many, many people who are not so fortunate. And I know it could happen to anyone.”

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Sunny has set a $10,000 goal and says, as always, he’ll be calling in all favours with clients, professional networks, friends and family to meet it.

“CEO or otherwise, everyone can help. This is my contribution. For others, you can donate or help raise awareness by sharing the cause with your own networks,” he says.

“No one can help all, but all can help one. We need that right now.”

The 2024 Vinnies CEO Sleepout will be held on 20 June. For more information, to donate, or nominate a CEO, visit Vinnies.

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