Youngsters challenged to help end homelessness

Wee sleep out 2019

The event is now open to under 18s and will see the youth programme taken to schools all across the country to educate young people on homelessness

27th August 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has challenged young people in Scotland to join the fight to end homelessness.

Social Bite has announced the launch of its second Wee Sleep Out – a programme for under 18s to join the charity’s movement to end homelessness.

This year, the programme intends to go bigger and better, with a target of 10,000 young people across Scotland hosting their own sleep outs and participating in Social Bite’s workshops facilitated by the co-founder, Dr Alice Thompson.

Workshops focus on homelessness and encouraging young people to think about their own social objectives and potential future social enterprises. The sleep out events can take place inside or outside as long as they’re giving up their bed for a floor and raising awareness about homelessness in Scotland.

There is no minimum fundraising target or registration fee, and under 18s across Scotland are encouraged to take part and benefit from the range of resources available to participating groups. Social Bite asks that young people raise as much as they can, but say it is important to them to be inclusive and remove all barriers to engagement.

The youth programme aims to encourage under 18s to have confidence and make their voices heard when it comes to tackling homelessness on both a national and global stage. Wee Sleep Out events will take place over Scotland on the weekend of 7 December, the same weekend as The World’s Big Sleep Out, which is run by Social Bite’s sister charity, World’s Big Sleep Out Trust, and was inspired by the concept of Wee Sleep Out.

Thompson said: “I was shocked and delighted when over 5,000 young people organised their own sleep out events all over the country last November and raised over £110,000. It’s been inspirational to discover such passion in Scotland’s youth for positive social change. It’s important to me that they understand that social enterprise is not complicated. They can do what Social Bite has done, and more, for their own cause using the power of business to tackle the world’s problems.”

Following Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park events in 2017 and 2018, which saw 18,000 adults sleep out under the stars in locations across Scotland, many young people got in touch with Social Bite, frustrated that they were too young to attend, but felt passionately about ending homelessness.

The Wee Sleep Out was launched as a response to those young people having been inspired to create a platform to feed their appetite for social change.

The charity has been holding large scale fundraising events over the last three years, raising millions of pounds. The money has been spent building the Social Bite Village and developing the 830 Homes Programme, where the charity is working in partnership with the Scottish Government to deliver a new housing policy, Housing First, lifting 830 people from the streets and placing them in permanent housing alongside wrap-around support.

The Social Bite Village is a community environment for up to 20 people at a time who are experiencing homelessness. While residents live there, they receive 24/7 on-site support from partner charity Cyrenians, along with opportunities to gain college and employment experience until they feel ready to move into their own permanent housing.

Wee Sleep Out’s workshops offer schools and youth groups practical support in organising their very own Wee Sleep Out, and the team support all groups throughout the planning stages. The team will travel the length and breadth of Scotland again this year to make sure that these workshops are accessible to young people nationwide. More information is available online.