Zen Staff Sleep Rough For Charity

Richard Tang

Staff from Rochdale-based internet service provider, Zen, will brave the potentially icy temperatures of a February night to raise money for homelessness charity Petrus Community.

Among those wrapping up warm on 23 February will be chief executive Richard Tang and divisional managing director Martin O’Donnell, who will be joined in the grounds of Manchester Cathedral by eight other members of staff. The sleep out will take place between 6pm on 23 February and 8am on 24 February.

Petrus, also based in Rochdale, has been providing supported housing and related services to homeless people since 1972. Petrus is Zen’s chosen charity for 2017.

Richard Tang said: “We’re supporting Petrus throughout the year with our regular itinerary of fundraisers and social events, and given the nature of the charity a sponsored sleep out seemed a natural extension of those efforts. We want to use the night to raise funds, and also to raise awareness. Petrus does some really important, really necessary work, and we hope that after the sleep out a few more people will know about it.”

Natalie Hodgson, from Zen’s systems development department, who is organising the sleep out, added: “It’s probably going to be cold, it may be wet, and we have no idea what sort of reception we’ll get from ordinary members of the Manchester public who might be in the city centre that night. But that’s what homeless people go through every night. If nothing else I think it will make us all aware of how lucky we are that we only have to do it once.”

Sonia Denham, Deputy Coordinator at Petrus, said: “Petrus are extremely grateful to Zen for choosing us as their charity for the year, and have already received a vast amount of donations such as clothes and food for people we support. We’re looking forward to taking part in the upcoming fundraising events and will, of course, be present in Manchester for the sleep out.”

Zen hopes to raise well over £1,000 from the sleep out, and anyone wishing to donate can do so at bit.do/zensleepout. For more information on Petrus, please visit www.petrus.org.uk.