MSP takes part in mass sleep out aimed at ending homelessness

West of Scotland Regional MSP, Ken Macintosh with Rev Jeanne Roddick and members of Greenbank Parish Church, Clarkston.
West of Scotland Regional MSP, Ken Macintosh with Rev Jeanne Roddick and members of Greenbank Parish Church, Clarkston.

West of Scotland Regional MSP, Ken Macintosh took part in last weekend’s Sleep in the Park event organised by the social enterprise and entrepreneurial business, Social Bite.

The ‘sleep out’, which this year saw around 8000 people sleeping out in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens, focused on raising funds to help meet Social Bite’s ambitious aim of eradicating homelessness in Scotland within five years.

Rather than selling tickets for the event which included unplugged performances from Liam Gallagher, Deacon Blue, Amy Macdonald and Frightened Rabbit, participants were asked to help reach the £4million fundraising target as well as committing to the sleep-out challenge. In addition to community groups, members of the public and businesses from across Scotland, Ken was also joined by Sir Bob Geldof, sports personalities and politicians from across the political spectrum in braving a typically Scottish December night with temperatures falling below freezing.

Ken was also on hand the following morning to help serve a warm breakfast of bacon rolls to those who had taken part in the sleep out.

The event builds upon Social Bite commissioned research from Heriot Watt University’s Institute for Social Housing, Housing and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) aimed at informing a ‘Funding Framework’ in four key and overlapping areas of interest to the organisation: rough sleeping, substance misuse, temporary accommodation, and employability and independent living.

Ken Macintosh MSP said: “I’m conscious there is a huge difference between choosing to sleep out for one night and the grim, scary, life-changing reality of homelessness and rough sleeping faced by thousands in Scotland every night of the week. It was bitterly cold in the Park, but I was able to put on extra layers and to return to my family in the morning. Imagine not having a regular square meal, a hot bath or a warm, welcoming, safe place to go that you can call home.

“Huge congratulations first of all to Greenbank Parish Church and to Hilary, Alison and Annrose led by Minister Jeanne Roddick who not only slept out but raised well over £3,500 in doing so.

“My gratitude too to Josh Littlejohn and the Social Bite team for organising this event, for highlighting the unacceptable number of Scots living without a roof over their head and pointing to just some of the things we can do about it.”

At the time of writing, Social Bite have raised around £3.6million towards their target.

Anyone wishing to add their support for the project can make a donation at www.sleepinthepark.co.uk until December 24.