Over 250 eminent Scots from the worlds of industry, academia, food & drink, leisure, politics and media will spend the night in the open at Charlotte Square on Thursday, December 15, for the first Social Bite CEO Sleepout.
The group will bed down from 7pm and will stay overnight until 7am before being served breakfast by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Cabinet Secretary for Equalities Angela Constance.
All participants will be raising money to build the country’s first village for the homeless, in Granton. The Social Bite Village project has a fundraising target of £500,000 and aims to house up to 20 homeless people in a purpose-built, safe living environment for around 12 months each, from summer 2017.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Tackling homelessness is a priority for the Scottish Government and we collaborate closely with local government and a range of national and local partners to work towards ensuring everyone has access to a warm and safe place to stay.
“Social Bite has done incredible work to help homeless people in Scotland by giving them the opportunity to work in their cafes and restaurants. The money raised from this event will go towards their groundbreaking new homeless village which will help break the cycle of homelessness. I look forward to meeting all those taking part in the sleepout and hearing of their experience.”
Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn said: “There’s a beautiful symmetry that the country’s most wealthy and influential people are braving the freezing cold for one night to help fund a long-term solution to homelessness.
“The Social Bite Village will tackle the problem of homelessness full circle by putting roofs over people’s heads, a supportive environment around them and giving links to employment opportunities. It’s incredibly humbling to see so many influential names getting behind the project and if there are more who want to join us, we want to hear about it.
“We will soon be launching our annual itison.com fundraising campaign to buy homeless people Christmas dinner and I am hoping that the public get behind us again, as they do every year.”
Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy said: “It takes a lot to get me to give up my bed but the Social Bite Village is an extremely worthwhile cause. Social Bite is being bold in trying to show how the cycle of homelessness can be broken, by giving people support and stability, and that’s something that I’m keen to back. Sleeping rough for one night might just be a small gesture but the money raised will go to kick-start the fundraising for this extraordinary project.”