The Big Sleep: Scotland's Sleep in the Park goes global
- Suzy Pope
- 25 November 2019
The World's Big Sleep Out calls for an end to global homelessness with events taking place all over the world
This December, the Scottish initiative Sleep Out in the Park is being taken worldwide. The first-ever World's Big Sleep Out will take place in major cities across five continents this year on Sat 7 Dec. What began with 300 people sleeping out in Princes Street Gardens back in 2016 now sees an estimated 50,000 participants all sleeping out under the stars in a global call to end homelessness and displacement. Organised events in the likes of London, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Santiago and Cebu (just to name a few) will see live music line-ups and celebrity bedtime stories.
The first Sleep Out in the Park was organised by local Edinburgh charity Social Bite, whose small sandwich shop was set up to offer a chance of employment and free meals for homeless people across the city. Josh Littlejohn, the co-founder of Social Bite, took his initiative to an international level when he founded the global charity The World's Big Sleep Out Trust. After the Social Bite sandwich shop caught the attention of A-list celebrities George Clooney and Leonardo di Caprio, it's no surprise that the World's Big Sleep Out has likewise attracted the support of celebrities from across the globe. Dame Helen Mirren will be storytelling at the London event in Trafalgar Square, along with performances from Travis, Tom Walker and Gang of Youths. Meanwhile, Will Smith will read the bedtime story at the main event in New York's Times Square.
Right here in Edinburgh, you can join the masses in Princes Street Gardens where it all began. Gregor Fisher — also known as Rab C. Nesbitt — will read the bedtime story, and you can enjoy live music from Angie McMahon, Ensemble and the Salvation Army Choir. Alternatively, you can host your own sleep out in your back garden or local park. Sign-up for a World's Big Sleep Out pack, which includes everything you need to join the party. If you host your own sleep out, you choose which charity 50% of your fundraising goes towards.
All profits from the World's Big Sleep Out will go to good causes. The aim is to raise $50,000,000 in a single night, which will help homelessness and refugee causes across the world. The event has partnerships with the Malala Fund, UNICEF USA and the Institute of Global Homelessness. The money raised will also be used closer to home as it's split 50/50 between global initiatives and local charities.
The World's Big Sleep Out is not just about fundraising, though. The trust wants to send a message to political leaders across the globe, shake them into action and implore them to find a compassionate solution for homelessness. The more people that sacrifice their bed for one night this December, the more impact the message will have.
Registration for the World's Big Sleep Out in Edinburgh closes on Tue 3 Dec. It costs £15 to register, which covers entry to the event in Princes Street Gardens and a fundraising pack. Attendees are encouraged to fundraise for their night in the park. The top fundraiser globally will win return flights and a hotel stay in New York to ceremoniously ring the NASDAQ bell.
What started as a small, grassroots initiative in Scotland has inspired the world to act. Add your voice to this worldwide call to end homelessness on Sat 7 Dec, right here in the city where it all began.
The World's Big Sleep Out, Sat 7 Dec, bigsleepout.com