Sir Bob Geldolf, Liam Gallagher and John Cleese are set to attend an event billed as the world’s “largest ever sleepout” in Edinburgh in a bid to ‘eradicate homelessness in Scotland in five years’.
The Live Aid-style event is aiming to attract 9,000 people to sleep rough in West Princes Street Gardens and the city centre on Saturday, December 9, to raise £4m to ‘catalyse a movement’ which will bring an end to homelessness.
Charity Social Bite – which employs homeless people as a quarter of its staff across five sandwich shops, two staff canteens and a production kitchen in Scotland – is behind the ‘Sleep in the Park’ event, which also aims to secure 1,000 pledges of employment and encourage 1,000 households to give up a spare room for a short period of time to help people get back on their feet.
Unique Events – one of Scotland’s best-known outdoor event organisers – will put on the event, which will feature a spectacular live concert with rare acoustic performances from A-list stars who will be ‘busking’ for the audience of 9,000.
Sleep in the Park participants will be joined by a line-up of artists before bedding down for a cold night in the open, enjoying exclusive ‘unplugged’ sets from Liam Gallagher, Deacon Blue, Amy Macdonald, Frightened Rabbit and special guests.
Comedian Rob Brydon will be hosting the event, with John Cleese performing a bedtime story and attendees will hear from Sir Bob Geldof on his support for the cause. Sir Bob will also be sleeping out overnight along with a host of other celebrities, sports personalities and figures from across Scotland’s political parties.
No tickets will be sold for Sleep in the Park, members of the public and businesses can only attend the event by reaching fundraising targets and accepting the sleep-out challenge.
The City of Edinburgh Council is showing its full support for the event with Leader Adam McVey, Deputy Leader Cammy Day and Chief Executive Andrew Kerr all sleeping out for the charity.
Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn MBE said: “By taking part in Sleep in the Park, you will be joining a movement to end homelessness in Scotland for good. We believe by working together, homelessness could be eradicated in Scotland within five years. We are planning to work closely with The Scottish Government and other charities throughout the sector to create a five-year action plan which will provide housing, rehabilitation, job opportunities and the support that homeless people need to get back on their feet. We want to make Scotland an example for the whole world to follow. We’re a small country; a nation of innovators. The statistics of homelessness in Scotland are not insurmountable – we only need to help 11,000 people back to their feet – together we can do that. So, whether as a business, a family or an individual – join our sleepout.”
Sir Bob Geldof said: “When we launched Live Aid in 1985, it showed the power of music and events to create real and important social change. I first met Josh and Alice from Social Bite five years ago and I am delighted to support them and their effort to eradicate homelessness in Scotland by sleeping out in the cold at the event. The event has the potential to be a game changer in tackling the issue and I am right behind it, even if a little nervous to brave a cold Scottish winter’s night. I know Scotland to be a compassionate nation and I would implore you to get involved.”
Liam Gallagher said: “Ever since Oasis got signed in Glasgow at King Tuts, Scotland has always had a special place in my heart. The fans are among the best in the world. I’m looking forward to playing in Edinburgh and supporting this Charity. I hope the event helps as many people back on their feet as possible.”