Sleep In The Park
Social Bite, a proactive charity working around Scotland with and for homeless people, is organising the world's largest ever sleep-out and are hoping to attract 9,000 people to Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens. The charity hopes that by raising funds and working together, the people of Scotland will create such an impetus that homelessness will be eradicated over a five-year period. The aim is not only to find provision for housing, but also to provide rehabilitation, job opportunities and support that will help people get back on their feet and find their place within society. The hope is that the many charities who work in these areas might also link up to provide ongoing support and care.
The vision is to make Scotland an example for the whole world to follow. We know we are a small country, but we are also a nation of innovators, explorers, and philanthropists. We are a small country with a big and generous heart.
At Christmas time there are many legitimate calls upon our time and our generosity. There are so many worthwhile charities and causes to support. But there is for Christians something compelling about the reality of homelessness that lies near the heart of the Christmas story. The homeless Christ-child, the refugee Holy Family.
Social Bite have gathered together a range of amazing people to the sleep-out. John Cleese, Deacon Blue, Rob Brydon, Sir Bob Geldof, Liam Gallagher and Amy Macdonald who will be present on the night.
You might not be able to take part yourself, a cold winter night in a park in December won't be possible for everyone. But you might know someone in your Church or workplace, a child or grandchild, a student friend or someone in a uniformed organisation, school, or a company who might be able to get involved individually or as a group. The challenge is for each individual to raise a minimum of £100 towards the cause. 2,000 people have already signed up. There's still some way to go to reach 9,000 people.
I am praying for 1,000 connected to the Church of Scotland will sign up. Will you join in?
Rt Revd Dr Derek Browning
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland