Homelessness charity Social Bite has launched the Wee Sleep Out to raise awareness and funds to join the charity’s mission to end homelessness.
The Wee Sleep Out is calling on young people between 8 and 16 years old to organise their very own Wee Sleep Outs on Friday 9 November, supported by teachers, youth leaders, parents and guardians.
The initiative is part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 and calls on youngsters to sleepover to raise funds.
There is no fixed locations for the event with back gardens, school grounds, community halls, living rooms and sports centres all suggested as locations for the Wee Sleep Out.
There will be no sign-up fee, and no minimum fundraising target to make this initiative accessible to all – but young people are encouraged to fundraise as much as they can to contribute towards Social Bite’s nationwide movement to end homelessness.
The Wee Sleep Out coincides with Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park, which will also take place this winter (Saturday 8 December).
Money raised from the Wee Sleep Out events will go towards Social Bite’s wider Sleep in the Park total, which includes supporting Social Bite’s major Housing First project which is expected to take 800 rough sleepers off the streets by 2020.
Alice Thompson, co-founder of Social Bite and organiser of the Wee Sleep Out, said: “The success of Sleep in the Park last year was overwhelming. To bring 8,000 people together and raise £4 million in the process was incredible, and this year we want the young people of Scotland to join us.
“There’s been a real appetite from the young people of Scotland looking to get involved, and a number of them got in touch after Sleep in the Park, offering their support. We even had Cody McManus, aged 9, brave the Beast from the East and sleep out in an Igloo in his back garden - raising £1,000 for the cause.
“We’re proud to launch the Wee Sleep Out during Scotland’s Year of Young People and give the young people in this country a voice. We want people of all ages to get involved with Social Bite’s mission to eradicate homelessness, and we’re inviting young people across the country to get creative and take the lead by organising their own Wee Sleep Out.”
Olivia Ferguson, a 16-year-old student at Kelso High School, took part in Sleep in the Park last year and contacted Alice after the event, keen to do something involving other young people. She said: “This a great opportunity for young people to come together to help end homelessness.
“Last year my family and I took part in the Sleep in the Park, which was a very humbling experience. I didn’t want my support to end there, so I got in touch with Alice and suggested an event in the Borders, and I can wait to organise a Wee Sleep Out.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “The Year of Young People 2018 provides us with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate, showcase and most importantly empower young people to make a difference.
“We are delighted to be supporting Social Bite’s Wee Sleep Out as part of Scotland’s current themed year. It provides a fantastic opportunity for young people across Scotland to lead the way in the delivery and development of events in their communities and at home to raise awareness of an important issue.
“2018 is the time to give young people the power to create change and celebrate their spirit of creativity and innovation - we can’t wait to hear all the ways in which they plan to take part in the Wee Sleep Out.”
Ms Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People said: “The Wee Sleep Out is an excellent example of how the Year of Young People has helped to provide a platform for young people to have their voices heard and for them to be part of making a real difference across the country.
“This is an incredible opportunity for young people to get creative and lead the way in their local communities. I look forward to seeing all of the different ways that young people will choose to take part and raise awareness for such an important cause.”
The Wee Sleep Out is now open for registration at www.weesleepout.co.uk.