Huge turnout as charity 'sleepout' on coldest night of the year raises more than £3.6m for homeless

Liam Gallagher, Amy Macdonald, Rob Brydon, John Cleese and Bob Geldof attended Sleep in the Park event

Lydia Smith
Sunday 10 December 2017 10:49
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Thousands sleep out to raise cash for homelessness in Edinburgh

More than 8,000 people slept rough in freezing conditions to raise money to tackle homelessness.

The Sleep in the Park event - billed as the “world’s biggest sleepout” - took place in Edinburgh on Saturday night, on the coldest night of the year.

Participants have pledged to fundraise at least £100 each and more than £3.6m of the £4m target has been raised so far.

Crowds enjoyed performances by Liam Gallagher, Deacon Blue, Amy Macdonald and Frightened Rabbit, as well as a bedtime story read by John Cleese.

Comedian Rob Brydon hosted the event, which was attended by Bob Geldof and Scottish deputy first minister John Swinney.

The event was organised by Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, which supports the homeless through cafes, a restaurant and fundraising events.

“This is the night that we collectively gave a voice to the people who have never had one,” Mr Littlejohn said.

“There are 11,000 homeless households in Scotland. When I think about all of the amazing different people, sleeping in this garden tonight, the one thing that strikes me about these statistics of homelessness is that they are not insurmountable.”

“Scotland is a small enough country, a compassionate enough country and a collaborative enough country, where nobody has to be homeless here.

“If we put our heads together, we can wipe out homelessness in five years.”

Singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald said: “It seems absolutely ludicrous that in 2017 that people are still sleeping out on the streets.

“It doesn't seem like it would be that difficult to stop. Hopefully the money goes a long way to try and help that.”

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