Sleep in the Park: Cities unite to raise awareness of homelessness

On Saturday we will join the crowds at Duthie Park for Aberdeen’s gathering as part of the national Sleep in the Park event.

In Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow thousands more will also be taking part in Social Bite’s initiative, designed not only to raise vital funds but crucially to raise awareness of one of society’s most significant issues.

One night out in the elements is nothing in comparison to the real plight of the homeless, but like all participants it is important we play whatever part we can in drawing attention to a problem that impacts upon every city in the country and indeed every local authority across Scotland.

As Co-Leaders of Aberdeen City Council it’s important we underline our commitment to tackling the social and economic factors that lead to homelessness and to meeting the challenges in providing solutions.

We also acknowledge we cannot act alone and Sleep in the Park is an event that demonstrates the collaboration that has to underpin the work being done to reduce homelessness.

Social Bite, Cyrenians and other valued third sector partners have been at the heart of our efforts to drive improvement. Public sector partners such as NHS Grampian and Police Scotland also share our aims to ensure every individual and family has the shelter and the sanctuary of a home. It’s the most basic human need and it’s a global problem that is so markedly at odds with the modern world, where we take so much for granted.

In our city we are determined to invest in new housing to help meet the demand that exists, as well as working with housing associations and the private sector to improve the supply of affordable housing.

Supply is a major piece of the equation, but there are many others. Support to individuals and families facing often complex and challenging situations is vital, improving employment opportunities for all and driving inclusive economic growth for the region are important parts of the mix.

Unfortunately it is an issue that we cannot solve overnight – but what we can do on Saturday is play our part in raising awareness and helping to beat the £4million fundraising total from last year’s Sleep in the Park. Online donations can be made via our fundraising page.

The Council’s chief executive and other senior officers will also be taking part, as well as elected members from across the political spectrum.

We thank all participants locally and across Scotland for their support for such an important cause.

Cllr Douglas Lumsden and Cllr Jenny Laing