Big sleep out has bold vision

Students and staff at Edinburgh are being encouraged to join a mass sleep out to help end homelessness.

Sleep in the Park

They are being given an incentive to sign up for Sleep in the Park, which will bring together 9,000 people in Princes Street Gardens.

The first 200 students and staff who sign up for the charity event – billed as the world’s largest ever sleep out – will have their £50 registration fee covered by a private donation.

Overnight event

Sleep in the Park on Saturday 9 December has been organised by Social Bite, a social enterprise set up in 2012 to support efforts to eradicate homelessness in Scotland.

Social Bite is also working with the City of Edinburgh Council to construct purpose-built houses to provide a safe and supportive living environment for up to 20 homeless people at a time.

If University participants manage collectively to raise £50,000, it will be able to sponsor one of the houses being built at the Social Bite Village in the Granton region of the city.

Star line-up

The event will feature performances by former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher and Scottish artists Deacon Blue, Frightened Rabbit and Amy MacDonald. It will be hosted by comedian Rob Brydon.

Live Aid organiser Sir Bob Geldof will join the thousands sleeping out, and Monty Python actor John Cleese will read those attending a bedtime story.

Private donation

Staff and students can take part in Sleep in the Park individually or as part of a team. To attend, each participant is required to make an initial £50 donation and then fundraise a minimum of £50.

A private donor has enabled the initial £50 to be waived for the first 200 Edinburgh students and staff who sign up using a special code.

Social enterprise

Social Bite was co-founded by Edinburgh alumnus Josh Littlejohn, who graduated in 2009 with a degree with Economics and Politics.

Earlier this year, the University awarded Littlejohn an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in Social Science for his work with Social Bite.

All the profits from the social enterprise’s five sandwich shops across Scotland are given to good causes. A quarter of its staff were formerly homeless.

We are proud to support this worthy initiative. I took part in last year’s Sleep out and it was an inspiring experience. I would encourage our students and staff to get involved this year and for us to be ambitious about what we can achieve together.

Professor Sir Timothy O’SheaPrincipal and Vice-Chancellor

Related links

The University and Sleep in the Park