On Saturday night some of the Hello team got as close to sleeping rough as we could ever want to be, as we took part in Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park. The aim? To help end homeless in Scotland, starting with getting 800 people into permanent accommodation over the next 18 month. Here’s our Sleep in the Park story…
As a team we are passionate about Scotland. In our jobs we have to be! This also means we’re passionate about our people so when the discussion around Sleep in the Park arose, there was little hesitation that we should get involved. We signed ourselves up and pledged to raise over £3000 for Social Bite - the charity behind the event. Along the way we wanted to involve our hospitality partners and have some fun with the fundraising. And so, the ‘Hello Scotland Team Auction’ evolved.
Each team member was put up to auction to our hospitality and tourism providers across the country, who could win said team members for a day - to do whatever they wished! A risky approach but we know our suppliers wouldn’t let us down! Here’s what the team go up to on their charity auction days:
The night of the sleep out was fast approaching and as donations arrived from friends and family, we were spurred on to get organised and make the most of an evening in the park. Thankfully the weather gods were looking down on us and after a week of horrible wind and rain, it stayed dry for the night itself.
Although we were two team members down due to illness, the four musketeers where ready to take on the challenge for the full Hello Scotland team!
We arrived onsite just after the gates opened at 5pm to the warmest of receptions from the event stewards and from Neil Findlay, Corporate Engagement Manager at Social Bite, who had been our main contact in advance of the event. We set up our ‘beds’ and headed over to the Bandstand for the evening’s entertainment.
We were lucky enough to see some amazing musicians take to the stage, from Kathryn Joseph to Frightened Rabbit who performed an emotional set for the first time after the death of their lead singer back in May. KT Tunstall and Amy MacDonald did a fantastic couple of numbers each before a surprise headline act took to the stage – Biffy Clyro!
In between the music, we heard from a lot of people who have benefited from what Social Bite do and it really was a rollercoaster of emotions over the course of the night - from young kids who are currently homeless and in temporary accommodation, through to people who have really turned their lives around with the help and support of Social Bite – it was an eyeopener and a real wake up call for everyone.
Each of us who slept out that night (and yes, we did manage to grab a few hours of sleep) have never been so grateful for a warm shower and cosy house to return to. It’s something we all take for granted, yet it could so easily be taken away.
30,000 people in Scotland are classed as homeless. No one should ever have to sleep rough, especially in a cold, damp Scottish winter and as a community, we have the opportunity to end homelessness in our country and become a leading example to the rest of the world. Imagine what an achievement that would be... and what a direct positive impact it would have on so many lives.
The money we have raised will go towards:
Getting 800 people off the streets and into secure housing, as well as providing ‘wrap around’ support services to help them get back on their feet
Supporting more individuals through the Social Bite Village and funding the assessment and development of similar projects in other cities
Funding initiatives to help young people leaving the care system and those leaving prison to get the support they need so they don’t end up on the street
Providing employment opportunities to homeless people through the Social Bite food provision services
We’d like to offer special thanks to Amazing Days for providing us with camping gear for the sleepout - Ross, you are a legend.
We’d also like to everyone who donated and has support us including: Glenturret Distillery, Fairmont St Andrews, Little’s Chauffeur Drive, The Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club, Allan’s Coaches, Kingsfield Events, The Balmoral, Ian’s Mini Coaches, The Sheraton Grand Edinburgh, Alba Entertainment, Pentangle Clays, Winton House, and to all our generous family and friends who have been amazing in giving us some pennies at this expensive time of year.