FORMER Newcastle United player Shola Ameobi is joining the campaign to tackle homelessness in the North East.

Ameobi will be spending the night in the stadium stands alongside entrepreneurs, business leaders and managing directors in a bid to help raise half a million pounds as the CEO sleepout returns to St. James' Park.

The event was postponed in 2020 due to Covid-19, however, the event will be returning in March 2022.

Ameobi, who is a dedicated Newcastle United Foundation Trustee, said: “Homelessness is a huge issue. I think it’s important that awareness is raised around the problem, and I think it’s great to do something that’s an action – directly helping raise awareness and funds and I’m more than happy to be part of the sleepout to help make a difference.

“We’re very lucky that we’ll be sheltered in the stadium on the night, which is something so many people don’t have. It’s definitely going to be cold, but it’ll be really interesting to chat to other people taking part and understanding why they’re fundraising too.

“I’m looking forward to the human element of it all – learning other people’s stories and why they’re motivated to sleep out. I’m not looking forward to how cold it’ll be and the birds singing early in the morning, but I’m definitely interested in meeting people and hearing their experiences.”

The event will take place on Thursday, March 24, 2022, from 8pm to 6.30am, it is anticipated that dozens of businesses people and executives will attend the event and raise money for North East charities working to reduce poverty.

Since 2014, CEO Sleepout events in Newcastle have raised £387,686 to support organisations providing guidance to people in crisis who face eviction from accommodation or who are at risk of losing their home.

Funds raised during the sponsored sleepout will be split between Newcastle United Foundation, Changing Lives and CEO Sleepout. The trio of charities are looking for at least 100 individuals to join the challenge.