By Ross Gilchrist
A big charity event called, ‘Sleep in the Park’, is set for December in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney, Community Secretary Angela Constance, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart, and more than 7,000 attendees will brave the cold to aid the homeless.
Mr Swinney said: “Each of us looks forward to joining the sleep out and being a part of such a strong movement bringing public attention to the daily experiences of those who experience homelessness and improving public recognition of the impact it can have, while working together to ensure it never has to.
“Together we can help make certain that everyone has a safe and warm place to live.”
They aim to address the root issues causing homelessness and stop the “sticky plaster mentality” of current approaches.
The events have raised over £2 million pounds in the past and will be attended by performances with big-name acts such as Liam Gallagher, Deacon Blue, Frightened Rabbit and Amy MacDonald.
Participants will be lulled to sleep with a bedtime story from Monty Python/Faulty Towers alum, John Cleese.
Co-founder of Social Bite, Josh Littlejohn, the event’s organiser, said: “To have these politicians taking part in Sleep in the Park is an extraordinary vote of confidence in our plan to end homelessness.
“The fact they’re giving up their beds for the night and agreeing to sleep rough shows that they are serious about eradicating homelessness in Scotland.”
Alongside the event, Social Bite commissioned a study from Heriot Watt University entitled, ‘Eradicating ‘Core Homelessness’ in Scotland’s Four Largest Cities’, released in October, which described the multiple forms of homelessness their fundraising efforts look to address.
Homelessness, according to the study, is heavily weighted against younger demographics, and seems to be rooted in many other complex issues and, “There was general agreement about the central role played by addictions in driving both phenomena and also that, while not all of those begging will currently be sleeping rough, most will have done so in the past and many will continue to be homeless (e.g. living in hostels, sofa-surfing).”
The deadline for volunteer sign-ups is December the 1st, and must pledge to raise at least £100.
Businesses can also sign up teams of five and committing to a minimum of £3,000.