On Saturday, 8th December, Katie, Katey, Léa, Ross, and Steven joined 12,000 others in Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park. This event is held in four cities around Scotland and raises funds and awareness for homelessness in Scotland.
Currently the average life expectancy of a homeless man is 47 and a homeless woman is 43. There are around 111,000 homeless people and 360 people rough sleeping every night in Scotland.
The aim of the event is to raise £4 million. This money goes towards a nationwide ‘Housing First Program’, initiatives to prevent homelessness, and employment and distribution of free food to the homeless community. You can find out more information about how the money is used here.
If you’d like to contribute to the Rabbie's Tours fundraising page and help us end homelessness together, you can click here.
A HUGE thank you to those who have supported us already. Any donation small or large will make a difference towards improving and saving a person’s life.
Here’s a personal account of the event itself from Katey.
Walking through Edinburgh, you notice homeless people sitting outside shops, in doorways, and train stations. It’s not an easy thing to see. This year, I decided to participate in Sleep in the Park 2018 to help change the lives of these people I see daily.
I put the idea forward to a few people in the office and others had been thinking about participating too. As a team we spent a month fundraising before the event itself and managed to raise an incredible amount of money in a short time period.
The event itself was eye-opening. Throughout the evening, we had people who had previously been homeless come on stage and tell us their stories and experiences. Hearing first-hand about the reality that so many people in our society face really put my own life into perspective. There’s so much we can easily take for granted! A roof over our heads, ease of access to food, the ability to go for a night out with friends, and so much more.
By about 11:15pm, it was time to head back to our Rabbie’s camp. With the stories of these individuals lingering in our heads, we wandered back to where we had left our sleeping bags and got settled in.
At first, I was thinking “this isn’t as bad as I thought”, but that changed throughout the night. It took a while for everyone participating to quieten down; but even once the chatter died down, we were still faced with the noise of central Edinburgh - sirens blaring, works on the train tracks, people heading home after a late night drink, and buses going past.
All of this made it difficult to sleep, because every time you’d start to doze off, you’d be awoken by a loud noise. The restlessness was not helped by the temperature dropping overnight. At first it was just my nose that was cold, so I wrapped my scarf tighter around my face. But then my feet and legs started to get cold, to the extent the muscles in my thighs were starting to cramp up. From 2am until 6am I was constantly shuffling about, trying to get comfy and find ways to wrap my feet up in excess sleeping bag. By the time 6am came around, I was happy to pack up my sleeping bag and belongings to head back to my car and blast the heating on my way home to a warm shower and my bed.
I struggled with one night sleeping outside. It was uncomfortable, it was cold, and it was miserable (and that was on a mild winter night with no rain or snow)! On average across Scotland on any given night there are 360 people sleeping rough and this is their reality. They don’t have a hot shower and a warm bed to go home to in the morning.
Social Bite is a wonderful charity, run by good, hardworking people who aim to eradicate homelessness in Scotland. The end goal; “We want to make Scotland an example for the whole world to follow. We’re a small country. A nation of innovators. The statistics of homelessness in Scotland are not insurmountable.”
Find out more about how we help charities across the UK and Ireland here.