Sleep In the Park 2018 raises over £3.2m and 'collectively gives a voice to the people who have never had one'
- Katharine Gemmell
- 11 December 2018
Unique Events / Lloyd Smith
The much-anticipated fundraising event blows its target out the water, securing 830 homes for rough sleepers
Last Saturday night, 10,000 people came together in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen to take part in the world's biggest simultaneous sleepout, with a collective mission to support homelessness. The event, organised by Social Bite and produced by Unique Events, had each participant raise a minimum of £100 to attend and involved musical sets from some of the nation's much-loved stars.
Sleep In the Park has now revealed that they have raised a massive £3.2 million so far, with donations still being accepted until Christmas Eve. This money will go towards Social Bite's ongoing work on the Housing First Programme, which supports rough sleepers in gaining long-term tenancies. Earlier this year the charity committed to contributing £3 million, matched by the Scottish Government's contribution of £6.5 million, to fully fund the programme. With this total now being blown out of the park, it means funding is fully secured to help 830 people off the streets.
The night featured busking-style performances from Amy MacDonald and KT Tunstall, who performed in all four cities in one night with the help of a private plane from a benevolent donor. Performing in Edinburgh was pop icon, Lulu, while Biffy Clyro's Simon Neil and members of the Twilight Sad made surprise guest performances in Glasgow.
In Glasgow, there was also a poignant performance from Frightened Rabbit, who played their first set since the passing of lead singer Scott Hutchison. Grant Hutchison from the band, and brother to Scott, commented on the importance of the initiative for them: 'Social Bite has encouraged Scotland to consider homelessness as something that can be eradicated completely from the country. For us to be a part of such an ambitious movement is an honour. The links between mental health and homelessness are undeniable and for Frightened Rabbit to be able to highlight both problems by playing our songs is a great opportunity.'
Charitable attendees were also treated to a bedtime story by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh in Edinburgh, from the winner of the Orwell Book Prize Darren Loki McGarvey in Glasgow and in Aberdeen the city's Football Club manager, Derek McInnes.
Josh Littlejohn MBE, Social Bite co-founder, said: 'Tonight was a night when people from all walks of life came together across Scotland – to stick up for the most vulnerable people among us. This is a night that we collectively gave a voice to the people who have never had one – and the event will have the very direct impact of helping 830 people off the streets in Scotland.' He continued, 'We won't end homelessness after one night, but we have made one giant leap towards that goal. And that is the achievement of everyone who took part.'
To make a donation to Sleep In the Park, fundraising is open until Christmas Eve at sleepinthepark.co.uk