Social Bite will host charity sleepouts in four Scottish cities as it continues the fight to end homelessness in Scotland
The world's biggest sleepout to beat homelessness is going to be even bigger this year as it returns not just to Edinburgh but to other city streets across Scotland.
Social Bite has announced this week that Sleep in the Park events will take place in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen on 8 December.
The inaugural event last year saw 8,000 people come together to sleep under the stars on the coldest night of the year in Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens. More than £4 million was raised and has been used to complete the Social Bite Village and fund a Housing First program to bring 800 homeless people into mainstream tenancies across the country.
Managed by Unique Events, Sleep in the Park 2018 participants will be joined by an impressive line-up of artists before bedding down for a cold night in each city.
Returning for the second year, Amy Macdonald will be joined on the bill by fellow Scot KT Tunstall. Each will put in a performance at all four cities on the night. An aircraft has been donated by prominent Glasgow based businessman Andrew Devlin to provide transport on the night.
Comedian Fred MacAulay will act as the host for the Edinburgh event and Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh will perform this years’ bedtime story. The full line up for each city including acts, special guests and hosts will be announced in the coming months.
Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “Last year, 8,000 people took part in the world’s largest sleep out in Edinburgh, and raised and incredible £4 million in the process. Everyone who gave up their beds that night caused a sea change in Scotland’s fight against homelessness and have funded a raft of major projects, including a major Housing First initiative which is expected to take 800 rough sleepers off the streets by 2020.
“We were completely blown away by the thousands of people who joined this movement and supported Sleep in the Park last year. We want to build on this across the whole of Scotland. By organising these events locally, we will invest the funds so that homeless people in those cities are housed and given the support they need to get back on their feet.”
The money raised from Sleep in the Park 2018 will be put towards rapidly rehousing rough sleepers and providing them with support. Funds will also go towards a number of other programs that the organisations claims will be a catalyst for long-term structural change.
Housing minister Kevin Stewart, said: “Having taken part in the event last December in Princes St Gardens, it was amazing to see people come together to help the most vulnerable people in Scotland.
“Public support for events like the Sleep Out demonstrates the appetite for change and the Scottish Government absolutely shares this commitment to ending homelessness. It's great to see the events being expanded throughout Scotland and I'd encourage everyone to get involved.”
Alongside Sleep in the Park, Social Bite is preparing to welcome its first residents to the Social Bite Village in the coming weeks. Located in Granton, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, the Social Bite Village consists of 11 purpose-built two bedroom homes and a community hub, and will provide a stable and supported communal way of living for 20 people at a time for around 12 to 18 months.
The event will return to Princes Street Gardens in the capital, with simultaneous sleepouts being held in Aberdeen (Duthie Park), Dundee (Slessor Gardens) and Glasgow (Kelvingrove Bandstand, tbc).
Members of the public can join Sleep in the Park by committing to raise £100. Businesses can sponsor the event by signing up a team of five with a minimum fundraising commitment for £3,000. Entry is open now.