AS the nights draw in and temperatures plummet, day to day life becomes even more perilous for those who find themselves sleeping rough.
But you could lend a hand in a very practical way by donating a good quality winter-proof sleeping bag or water-proof Bivvy bag to help someone living on the streets of the Capital this Christmas. As part of our Edinburgh Cheer campaign, the Evening News has teamed up with the GameChanger partnership to launch our Bags of Kindness appeal.
Alongside the partnership – which comprises Hibs, the Hibernian Community Foundation and NHS Lothian – we are inviting readers to buy a bag or make a donation of whatever you can afford to help buy what are vital lifelines. Network Rail and the Carillion Waverley Station Improvements team have got the appeal off to a flying start by providing the first 50 sleeping bags.
City charities the Cyrenians, Streetwork, Bethany Christian Trust and Destiny Angels are working with us to ensure that any sleeping bags you donate or which your donations buy get to those in need.
Ewan Aitken, chief executive of Cyrenians, said the charity was “delighted” to be taking part in the appeal. “While the long term aspiration must always be to work towards ending the situation where people sleep rough on the streets, we also need to think of the short term,” he added. “People are cold now – today and tonight – and we need to do what we can to keep people warm and safe.”
Helping launch the appeal, Hibs star Efe Ambrose said: “I am really pleased the club is working to provide a better Christmas for many people this year, and few people need our help more at this time of year than those forced to sleep rough.”
If you are buying a sleeping bag, please ensure that it is newly bought rather than second hand and meets ‘four seasons’ specification, otherwise it will be of little use on the cold streets. Bivvy bags, which help provide protection from the rain, can also be donated.
William Jack, station interference manager at Network Rail, said they were delighted to support the appeal. He added: “Our team at Waverley is regularly confronted with the challenges of homelessness and mental health. While many of us are planning celebrations with friends and families, others are lonely and cold on our streets, looking for shelter and personal contact.”
The appeal marks just one of many ways that you can help someone in need this Christmas as part of our ongoing Edinburgh Cheer campaign.
Throughout December we will be keeping you updated on ways in which you can get involved, with a number of local charities set to receive help with their own Christmas events.
Furthermore, Hearts and Hibs will both be hosting and supporting a number of events throughout December in an effort to harness the power of football to create a kinder city.
Sleeping bags can be dropped off at Easter Road, Waverley Station, the reception of the Evening News at Orchard Brae House or the customer service desks at the Tesco stores in Corstorphine and Leith.
Cash donations can be made online at https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/hiberniancommunityfoundation.