On Thursday 21st March, senior leaders from companies including Action for Children, Royal Mail, Hays and HSBC spent one night sleeping rough at Paternoster Square in London, all to raise money for Action for Children.

The event saw the sleepers engage with young people and support workers from Action for Children in team-bonding activities and an interview technique workshop. There was also an Action for Children service on hand to cook all the food at the event.

For any questions or if you would like to get involved in next year’s event please contact [email protected].

There are 83,000 homeless young people in the UK.

One in four homeless young people (27%) have been diagnosed with a mental health problem. One in five homeless young people (21%) have self harmed.

Building a community.

In order for us to be able to support as many children and young people as possible every year we will rely on your network to build our CEO Sleepout community.

A community of fantastic individuals that share Action for Children’s aims and values. You will be given a unique invite to share with one of your senior contacts - an opportunity for them to meet like minded leaders and support a fantastic cause. The networking event will be an opportunity for them to learn more about our ambitions and goal for the year as well as hear the fantastic stories of lives we have changed and the club achievements!


CEO Sleepout 3

Action for Children

Working together to help disadvantaged young people in our local communities across the UK. Action for Children is one of the UK’s leading children’s charities and we have been supporting disadvantaged children for 150 years.

Our essential services provide intensive support for:

- Families in crisis

- Disadvantaged young people

- Children who can no longer live with their birth families

- Disabled children

- Young carers

A safe and loving home

One of the leading causes of youth homelessness is a breakdown of relationships between a young person and their parent or carer. This is the reason two in three young people are in homelessness accommodation and it has been a driving cause of youth homelessness for decades.

Living in a safe and loving home is essential for children to grow up healthy and happy, and to enable them to make the most of opportunities. That is why a central part of Action for Children’s work is providing secure and stable homes – supporting families to stay together, or helping children who are unable to live with their birth family.

In practice, we do this through intensive family support, matching children with appropriate foster carers or adoptive families, and by running a range of specialist residential homes and providing supported accommodation.

Intensive family support

We provide support to families where there are complex issues around substance misuse,neglect, mental health, or simply a breakdown in relationships. We also continue to provide specialist evidence-based therapies to support families with young people who are at immediate risk of going into care or custody.

In 2017/18, Action for Children:

 Supported 1,967 young people to remain in safe, secure and appropriate housing.

Worked with over 2,618 young people and their families to improve relationships.

Helped 2,580 young people to develop improved support networks including with wider family members and leaving care services.


"We give our young people a safe base that they can call home. ‘Stickability’ is the word I like to use in my job. It means we’re there for our young people through thick and thin."

Action for Children residential home manager

Fostering and adoption

Action for Children provides both adoption services and a range of foster homes across the UK. We have developed particular expertise in supporting teenagers for whom local authorities find it difficult to locate a home due to concerns about mental health, self-esteem, challenging authority and school exclusion.

Residential care and supported accommodation

For those young people who can simply no longer live with their birth families, we are able to provide residential care and supported accommodation. We provide a number of specialist housing services for young people entering adulthood who have a background of unsuccessful care placements or have been in custody or homeless. Our staff regularly help young people to overcome issues such as self-harm, depression and anxiety, unemployment, and lack of education.

We do everything we can to stop ‘home’ being a park bench. We guide young people when family relationships break down. We find safe, loving homes, with foster and adoptive parents. We support young adults fleeing violence.

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Colleen’s Story

“I had my first ecstasy tablet when I was 11. My parents were heroin addicts and growing up was tough. The ecstasy numbed your emotions and gave you a false kind of confidence which made you feel good. By the time I was 16, I was homeless.”

Action for Children stood by me and supported me which was life changing. Their wonderful work allows disadvantaged children to do incredible things.

My mum and sister left our family home when I was young so it was just me and my dad. There were good times but there were a lot of bad times, and my memories of them are vivid. My dad had told my mother that there was no point in having children with him because he wasn’t going to see 40. He passed away when I was 16.

I was drinking constantly, sleeping on my friends’ couches and floating through life. I was young, scared and looking for guidance. When I was put in a hostel, I was allocated an Action for Children support worker who helped me in all aspects of my life. They would come to see me every one or two weeks and we’d make notes and try to work to a point where I felt confident enough to move on and support myself.

Just having my support worker to talk to made a hell of a lot of difference. Their kind words gave me that little bit of hope and belief that I wasn’t all the bad things that I kept thinking about myself. They pushed me, when I needed it, to go back to the housing people until I got offered temporary accommodation.

Moving on 

My life today is brilliant. I’m playing football at Celtic Football Club, a team I have always supported. It’s amazing. Being part of the team, I feel wanted. I think there’s so much more to come in my life. I’ve learned that the quicker you reach out to ask for the support and help, the quicker you can move on.


Jack’s story

Jack, 19 from Bolton, is now on the brink of a football career, but life growing up wasn’t always so easy. Jack’s parents both struggled with alcohol and heroin addictions, but it was only after his mum’s death in 2014 that he made his own decision to move in to foster care to get the love and support he needed. 

When he was at primary school in Bolton, he loved football but he had to stop going to practice so that he could go home and look after his mum and dad, who struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.

Jack recalls: “I knew that straight after school I needed to be home looking after my mum.

In 2014, Jack’s mum died and his dad struggled to cope with his grief. Jack initially moved in with his uncle, but while trying to cope with the death of his mum he was also given caring responsibilities of his younger cousins and Jack’s behaviour at school began to deteriorate.

Jack was supported by Action for Children following his mum’s death and with the support of keyworker Chris, Jack decided to move in to foster care.

‘I’ve been with my foster family now for nearly four years. It’s coming along great. I started to feel part of a normal family. I was given a lot more freedom and a lot more time to express myself. After about four months of being in care, I got out of the behaviour unit.

“Action for Children worked with me for a while and then it got to the point where they asked me: what are your goals? What do you want to achieve? Where do you want to be in 10 years’ time? What pathway do you want to follow to get there? When I said coaching football, they said, right, to get to there, what do you need to do? Just setting goals worked wonders really.”

Jack is now achieving those goals. He’s studying sport at college but his time in education finishes this year. He’s secured a position to play at a semi-professional level for Bolton Wanderers next season. “I’m looking forward to the future now. A couple of years ago I was always in the present or the past. In five years, I want a nice house, I want to have a mortgage, a nice car, hopefully, looking forward to having a wife and kids. I want to be a coach or a footballer. That’s the dream. I love coaching and showing people how to do things like people have shown me. I feel like through the experience I’ve had I’ve learned how to be a leader.”

Jack is also now an ambassador for Action for Children and attended the 2018 CEO Sleepout. 

A taste of CEO Sleepout

“I’m proud to be taking part in CEO Sleepout and raising awareness. It will be a tough challenge but nothing compared to what is experienced nightly by the young people who desperately need our support.”

James Dand, Chief Operating Officer, Turner & Townsend


“I have my eyes open on the work Action for Children do and the value that they add directly to the young people in UK. Being part of CEO Sleepout made me understand more about youth homelessness and it gave me something to take and raise awareness about.”

Dr Shaun Davis, Global Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability, Royal Mail.

“CEO Sleepout has given me a little insight of what 83,000 young people have to put up with every night. It is a difficult experience but something I’ll definitely do again. I will also continue to raise awareness and funds for this fabulous cause. “

Tim Griffin, Managing Director, DCC Technology.