Leader comment: What difference did Sleep in the Park make?

Head of Social Bite Josh Littlejohn
Head of Social Bite Josh Littlejohn
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last year’s Sleep in the Park event was truly extraordinary.

Hailed as a “game-changer”in efforts to tackle homelessmess, it saw 8000 fundraisers brave temperatures of -5C in Princes Street Gardens for the world’s biggest sleep out.

Raising £3.6 million, it brought the issue to global media attention, and rightly saw praise showered on Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn.

But when the stage was packed up, the celebs left and all those who took part returned home to their warm beds, what lasting difference did it actually make?

Today, we find out. Social Bite has launched the ‘600 Homes’ campaign aimed at taking a minimum of 600 people out of homelessness within the next 18 months.

It aims to turn the existing homelessness system on its head. Rather than leaving vulnerable people to sleep rough or in hostels or B&Bs, it will provide them with a secure home first with a full support structure.

It could well become a model for the rest of the UK to follow and has only been possible due to the millions raised on a chilly night in December.

What difference did Sleep in the Park make?

There are 600 people who will be able to tell you a year or so from now.