To the late-night dog walkers in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London the spectacle of 900 people sloshing around in the mud watching a stand-up comedian in the rain must have looked like a strange spectacle.
Despite the challenging conditions, the festive atmosphere among the throng heightened as the event, organised by homeless charity Centrepoint, inched towards a total raise of £500,000.
Estate agents played a significant role in the evening including a good show from nearly 100 Propertymark representatives.
This included many of its senior figures, management team and local representatives.
The Propertymark grouping of agents and suppliers raised some £57,000 from friends, family and customers, making it the second highest raised this year at a single event by estate agents.
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Some £380,000 was drummed up prior to the event and another £100,000 rolled in during the evening before ‘lights out’ was called at 11pm. The total is expected to exceed £500,000 in the coming days.
The cavernous tent filled with sleepers ready to hit, quite literally, the white sleeping ‘sacks’ given to each attendee.
All of the agents at the Centrpoint event agreed on one thing other than the good cause it supported. Most had travelled to it via public transport and, dressed in thermal jackets and trousers and clutching pillows and sleeping bags, had briefly experienced the suspicious stares of commuters who thought they might be homeless.
“It was strange because normally no one pays much attention to you as you travel to work, but suddenly today I felt unwelcome on the train so I now realise how people who are homeless may feel like,” says Marcus Feinhols of Fine Homes (picture below, right).
Ian Westerling (above, left), the former MD of Humberts, former NAEA Vice President and now industry consultant, said: “As agents we are very commercially focussed but what a lot of people forget is that most agents have a lot of compassion about the wider communities that they serve.
“Agents give back in many different ways and by doing something like this through Propertymark it helps spread the word with consumers that we’re not all there just to make a quick buck.”
The idea of having a Propertymark charity was the brainchild of Katie Griffin and most recent NAEA president Mark Bentley then chose Centrepoint which Lauren Scott, the current president, then decided to broaden out and use the ‘Big Sleep’ to help raise money.
“I talked to Centre Point about what they did and it really pulls on your heart strings and I realised that we’re in a position where we have so many agents who just want to give something back so we thought we’d raise £10,000 tonight.
“And now we’re at over £50,000; which has been agents, suppliers and clients giving small amounts and that’s amazing.”
More pictures from the Centrepoint night