Sleeping rough for his birthday – Nick Hughes, SEGRO

Nick Hughes is The Director of Marketing and Communications at SEGRO. He has chosen to spend his 50th birthday with us at The Big SleepOut 2016, and is encouraging people to sponsor his fundraising instead of giving him gifts! Together with many of his colleagues, he will spend the night in a cardboard box, and raise vital funds for Trinity and SHOC. We asked Nick why he is doing this, here is his reply:

In the UK in 2016 we absolutely must be in a position to substantially reduce the number of homeless people. Clearly this is a cause that requires both money and also the oxygen of publicity. Homelessness has too long been a taboo and, having worked in London for thirty years, it is easy to become blind to what you see around you – including those unfortunate enough to be sleeping rough on the streets of London, Slough or any city and town in this country. If, by taking part in The Big Sleepout, I can fulfil the twin goals of generating some funds and highlighting the issue, then I’d be pretty happy. I’m very pleased to be joining about 20 of my SEGRO colleagues on the night and proud that we are all supporting Trinity – a great charity that does so much for the homeless of Slough: the town where SEGRO started business nearly 100 years ago.

I have been incredibly fortunate in my life in that I have not been homeless, nor close to being homeless. Turning 50 is, for me, a time of reflection, a time to think about how my life has been. Maybe it’s a little clichéd but I genuinely did think about how I’ve been lucky, whilst others really haven’t. As such I thought about how I wanted to celebrate turning 50 and I realised that whilst I did want to celebrate with family and friends, I really didn’t want to indulge myself any more than that. So when it came to answering questions about what I wanted for my birthday, my answer was simple: I wanted their presence not their presents! Instead I asked each of them to donate to The Big Sleepout. And they have been incredibly kind and generous. I will wake up, aged 50, not in my comfortable, warm and safe bed that I do every other morning of the year but, instead, having slept rough. One night is a tiny sacrifice but it’s a big eye-opener into the world of homelessness. It’s one I intend to remember for the rest of my life and make sure that others around don’t forget the issue of homelessness either.