Tackling homelessness at world's biggest sleep-out

Prominent figures at Scottish Rugby will come together on Saturday 9 December for Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park, the world’s biggest ever sleep out. Raising money to kick homelessness into touch, a number of rugby sporting legends, players and staff have signed up to support the cause.  

Among those taking part is former Scotland captain Al Kellock. Having participated in last year’s CEO Sleep Out in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, the former Scotland star will once again be bedding down for a night in the open, along with a host of other sports personalities, celebrities and figures from across Scotland’s political parties. 

Al Kellock said: “The sleep-out is a great initiative that I was delighted to take part in last year. It gives everyone a very brief insight into the struggles that homeless people endure on a daily basis. 

“It’s fantastic to see the growth this year with the target of 9,000 people sleeping out and with a bit of collective effort we can make sure everyone has a bed and a roof over their head in Scotland.” 

Joining Kellock next month will be Graeme Beveridge, former Scotland scrum-half and current head of the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy in Edinburgh, and former Scotland A and Scotland 7s international player Darren Burns, who is currently the SRU’s Student and Adult Participation Manager. 

Also supporting the sleep out is Gordon Lyon, from Scottish Rugby’s coach education department who supports Scotland’s mixed ability rugby squad, The Clan. Mirroring the Sleep in the Park’s inclusive aim to bring everyone together for one important cause, The Clan enables players from all walks of life with physical or learning disabilities to play in the same team as able-bodied players. 

With Sleep in the Park falling on the same night as the Edinburgh Rugby vs. London Irish European Challenge Cup match at Myreside, rugby fans are welcome to sign-up to join the sleep-out after the game. There will also be a Scottish Rugby fan zone at the event where attendees can meet their rugby heroes who are participating on the night.  

Scottish Rugby is the latest sporting body to join Social Bite’s movement to support the eradication of homelessness in Scotland, with Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian also supporting Sleep in the Park.  

Josh Littlejohn MBE, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “It’s amazing to have the support of Scottish Rugby and I am grateful to everyone from the organisation who is taking part on the night. Sleep in the Park is about uniting everyone for a single cause, and to bring together sporting legends and stars from across the country is a great feeling.  

“There are just two weeks left to sign up for Sleep in the Park, so I would urge anyone still thinking about it to sign up now and join our movement.” 

Sleep in the Park participants will be joined by an impressive line-up of artists before spending a cold night in Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens, and enjoy exclusive ‘unplugged’ sets from Liam Gallagher, Deacon Blue, Amy Macdonald and Frightened Rabbit.  

Comedian Rob Brydon will be hosting the event, John Cleese will be performing a bedtime story and attendees will also hear from Sir Bob Geldof on his support for the cause. 

Members of the public can join Sleep in the Park by committing to fundraising at least £100. Businesses can sponsor the event signing up a team of five with a minimum fundraising commitment of £3,000. 

To find out more and to sign up, visit www.sleepinthepark.co.uk

Note to editors  

  • Social Bite started as a sandwich shop on Rose Street in Edinburgh in August 2012 and has now grown to five shops in Scotland, two large staff canteens in Edinburgh, a central production kitchen in Livingston and one of the country’s leading independent corporate catering businesses. 
  • One quarter of Social Bite’s staff are homeless and the charity has received visits from Hollywood superstars Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney. 
  • Social Bite are the largest distributer of free fresh food to the homeless in the UK, giving out over 100,000 items of food and hot drinks per year.

Our picture shows (left to right: Graeme Beveridge, Josh Littlejohn, Gordon Lyon, Darren Burns and Al Kellock.

 

Written by
Graham Law