Thousands of children in Wee Sleep Out for homeless charity

Thousands of children slept outside at the weekend to raise awareness of homelessness.

An estimated 5,000 youngsters aged eight to 16 took part in a national campaign organised by the charity Social Bite.

Hundreds of events were organised across Scotland on Friday and Saturday, with schools, clubs, families and youth groups heading outdoors for the night to raise money.

The Wee Sleep Out gave youngsters the chance to take part in the campaign before Social Bite’s annual Sleep in the Park event, taking place on Saturday December 8.

It will span four cities – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.

Last year, 8,000 people joined the event, held in Princes St Gardens, Edinburgh, and raised £4 million.

The money raised from the Wee Sleep Out will contribute to Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park total.

A group of nine-year-old pupils – Cosmo MacDougall, Cole Hood, Lachlan Johnson, Ollie Willis and Robert Hodge were among those who took part in the Wee Sleep Out. They spent the night in the back garden.

Cosmo said: “We’re proud that we all managed to sleep outside for the whole night and raise money for Social Bite.

“It was really windy, noisy and wet but my dad put tarpaulin up as a shelter so at least we didn’t get completely soaked.

“It wasn’t too cold with all of us huddled together but it was very uncomfortable. I was glad when we woke up and went inside.

“I can’t believe people have to live like this. It made us all think about how lucky we are.

“I was able to sleep all day the next day in my cosy bed and it’s so sad that not everyone has a home they feel safe and secure and warm in, so we hope that by us doing this for just one night it can help other people.”

Alice Thompson, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “For so many young people to give up their warm beds for the night is incredible and I’m overwhelmed by how many children have backed our movement to end homelessness in Scotland during the Year of Young People 2018.

“I’d like to extend a thank you to every single person who took part and organised their own Wee Sleep Out this weekend. The money raised will make a huge difference to those who need it most.”

Earlier in the year, Social Bite partnered with Sumdog on a nationwide maths competition in a bid to encourage children to get involved in the Wee Sleep Out.

Social Bite co-founders Josh Littlejohn and Alice Thompson will present the prizes to the winners later in the year.