It was a cold night last December in Dundee, when Paul and I joined the Big Sleep Out in Dundee to try to help end homelessness. We joined thousands of other people across Scotland sleeping outside, to get just a small glimpse of what it must be like not to have a cosy home to come back to every day. While it was only one night, the experience has stayed with us both. And that's why I'm really proud to be hosting our own Green Aspirations Big Sleep Out in the Woods this year. Come and join us!
Why are we doing this?
Every 18 minutes, a household becomes homeless. In Scotland. It's a shocking statistic for a modern, developed country and it's not something anyone should want to see continue. But it's easy to feel helpless in the face of the challenge. What can we do, really? The Big Sleep Out gives us a change - even if only a small one - to make a difference.
What's it like?
The thing that hit me most last year was how difficult it was to sleep when the temperatures are low. I'm from the south of England and, although I've been living up here for 14 years or so, I still find it hard to adjust to how cold it can get. And we were prepared. We had ground mats, decent sleeping bags and loads of layers, but I still couldn't stay warm. I had a couple of trips to the fires that were dotted around, plus a visit to the tea tent. It really was a relief when we were asked to get up at 6am and start to leave the site and head for a warm car ride and hot shower. I can only imagine what this must be like day-in, day-out. The struggle to keep warm and dry in the Scottish weather must enormous.
We're ready to raise some money for the Big Sleep Out, so come along and help us! You can do this in a number of ways:
Sleep out with us! If you're up for it, join us in the woods on Saturday 7 December for a night under the stars. Sign up today via our FaceBook page. You can collect sponsorship for your efforts!
Make a donation. If you can't make it along for the night, but want to give something, then go to our fundraising page. Any amount of money, no matter how small, will be really appreciated.
Sponsor the event. If you're a local business and want to get involved, bring your team to sleep out and get them to raise money and/or donate food, drink or a raffle prize. Get in touch with us on email@example.com.
Support a homelessness charity. Find out more about Social Bite - the amazing social enterprise that organises the Big Sleep Out - or other charities that support ending homelessness, like Crisis and Shelter. You can make one-off or regular donations of money or time, or buy from their shops.
We'll also be collecting donations for the food bank in Stirling and kids winter coats and boots that are desperately needed in Glasgow. Get in touch on the email above if you have things to donate but can't make it the Sleep Out.
So, even though it's just for one night, it really can make a difference.