The Lady Provost will brave a cold night at Edinburgh Zoo in a bid to raise thousands of pounds for good causes.
On a crusade to raise awareness of homelessness in the city, Elaine Brand has challenged businesses and residents to join her as she swaps her bed for a sleeping bag amid the nocturnal sounds of the animal inhabitants.
“Sleep Out at Edinburgh Zoo” will raise vital funds for Four Square and the Rock Trust to help young people get off the streets and into work.
Ms Brand said she wants people to “open their eyes” to what it is like for young homeless people during the colder months, but admits the challenge will be nothing compared to the struggle faced by those who sleep rough every night.
She said: “In spite of Edinburgh’s continued growth as a successful and affluent city, homelessness remains a pressing issue. Nobody can truly experience the struggle of homelessness based on one night in the cold, but I hope our eyes can be opened to what it is like to spend a night outside.
“We’ll be sleeping out in September when the nights get longer and the temperature drops – I hope this shock to the system will emphasise just how difficult this year’s colder months will be for our young homeless people.
Her husband, Lord Provost Donald Wilson added: “Elaine is determined to raise awareness of youth homelessness in Edinburgh and this event is an attempt to raise as much money as possible for Four Square and the Rock Trust.
“These charities are very close to her heart and I hope we can help to make a big difference.”
Chris West, chief executive of RZSS, said: “We are delighted to support worthy causes of this nature. We wish every success to all those involved in raising awareness of homelessness in Edinburgh.”
While the number of rough sleepers in Edinburgh is officially the lowest of any Scottish city – having reduced by almost 15 per cent over the last five years – almost 4000 people were assessed as homeless in the Capital last year.
The Lady Provost’s “sleep out” will take place overnight on Thursday, September 24.
Support can be shown on social media using #ZooSleepOut and by making a donation via www.virginmoneygiving.com/SleepOutAtEdinburghZoo