The Social Bite Sleep in the Park Experience

The Social Bite Sleep in the Park Experience

Cullen Property raises over £12,000 to support Social BiteOn Saturday 9th December 2017, seven members of the Cullen Property team took part in Social Bite’s ‘Sleep in the Park’ to help raise funds and awareness to help eradicate homelessness in Scotland.

The team tell us about their involvement with Social Bite and experience of Sleep in the Park;

1. Why Social Bite?
Last year our Managing Director, Malcolm Warrack took part in Social Bite’s CEO Sleepout. The event was a great success, raising £500,000 which went towards providing housing for the homeless by building a village in Granton. When the opportunity came this year for more members of the Cullen Property team to become involved with Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park we were enthusiastic to do so.
At Cullen Property, we have been providing homes across Edinburgh for tenants since 1998. Being in the business of property letting and management we are constantly aware of the affordability of property for tenants and never more so for those without employment. We value the inspirational work Social Bite has achieved in Scotland. Josh Littlejohn has created an enterprise which has approached the needs of the homeless, creating structure which the vulnerable in Scotland can now rely on. We understand the importance of having somewhere to call home.

2. What are your thoughts on the case of eradicating homelessness in Scotland?

There are 11,000 homeless households in Scotland and 280 individuals ‘rough-sleeping’ on Scotland’s streets. This small number is not insurmountable. As a modern, forward thinking, compassionate and collaborative society we should be able to provide both suitable emergency accommodation and affordable permanent homes when they are needed. We believe with a five-year plan to eradicate homelessness in Scotland is achievable.

3. How much money did you manage to raise?

Our original fundraising target for Social Bite was £4,200. We would like to thank all of our investors, landlords, tenants, friends and family who donated an amazing £5,400! We then matched this figure and subsequent donations after the event have helped us to raise over £12,000! We were the only Scottish property management and lettings company to make it into the top ten corporate list of fundraisers during the pre-event fund-raising campaign! For a team of 15 to have raised this amount of money is something we are immensely proud of.

4. How did you prepare for Sleep in the Park?
Nothing could have prepared us mentally and physically well enough for the night ahead. We descended onto Princes Street Gardens armed with sleeping bags, ground mats, 8+ layers of appropriate clothing and warnings of a bitter night. Reality hit once we bunked on down at midnight in temperatures of -6 degrees, sleeping on a frosty ground and waking at 5am to our sleeping bags frozen on the outside. This was an insightful experience to the conditions the homeless are faced with throughout Scotland’s winter months.

5. If you could describe the night in one word, what would it be?
The team answered a collection of;
‘inspirational’
‘freezing’
‘uncomfortable’
‘insightful’
‘unique’

6. Any top tips for helping you get through the night?
Our top tips to help us get through the night were;
1. ‘To wear lots of warm kit.’
2. ‘To layer up – five socks, five trousers, three tops, two jumpers, three coats, two scarfs and two hats were still not enough.’
3. ‘Hand warmers were my best friend, with one in each shoe and glove made a huge difference.’
4. ‘Next time bring two sleeping bags!’

7. What was your highlight of the event?
As a team we have all agreed the highlight of the event was the collaborative effort not only from the Cullen Property team, but Scotland as a nation coming together to support eradicating homelessness. 8,000 of us in Scotland’s capital wanting to make a change to the lives of Scotland’s homeless individuals was inspiring - we were all there to give something back and make a difference.

8. If you could, would you do this again?
Sleeping in Princes Street Gardens gave us an insight into the conditions the homeless are faced with during the winter months. Luckily, we prepared for the event with an abundance of appropriate clothing, sleeping bags, mats and waterproofs. However, the homeless do not have this luxury. There are 280 homeless individuals sleeping rough every night on Scotland’s streets. Temperatures dropped to --7 degrees on the night which we struggled with (despite all the layers and appropriate sleep out gear.) It was a mixed response from the team ranging from; ‘absolutely I’d do it again’ to ‘it was an unforgettable experience, but not one I want to repeat.’

Thank you to everyone for your overwhelming amount of support. We have and will make a difference together.

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