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New idea being planned

Littlejohn to rethink Sleep in the Park homeless fundraiser

Amy MacDonald

Amy Macdonald was among those who entertained this year’s event (pic: Terry Murden)


 

Sleep in the Park founder Josh Littlejohn said he is unlikely to repeat the homeless charity event, admitting it was time to try a new format.

Mr Littlejohn said he was delighted with this year’s turnout even though it had fallen short of the target and extending it to four cities had involved a lot more work.

He earlier revealed that plans to transport performers Amy Macdonald and KT Tunstall by helicopter to each of the venues had been dropped in favour of road travel.

About 10,000 people braved the elements to spend the night in sleeping bags in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow.

They are expected to raise £3.4 million against a target of £4m and the £6m that Mr Littlejohn had hoped to raise from 12,000 participants

He said it had proved a tough task to organise an event across multiple venues and that he was already considering a change for next year.

“I missed most of the performers,” he said. “I spent most of the time on the road and managed to catch about 30 seconds of Lulu in Edinburgh.

Speaking to Daily Business, he said he was unhappy with an interview that suggested it had been a failure.

“I was extremely joyous. It was a very positive occasion and there are definitely plans to do something bigger and better. Sleep in the Park was never conceived as an annual event.”

He said next year’s event “will not necessarily be in the Sleep in the Park format”.

He earlier told The Scotsman: “It’s a really difficult event to do two years in a row. A lot of people who did it last year viewed it as a once in a lifetime experience.

“It is a lot of effort for people to raise money from their friends and families, and everything else that is entailed with it. I’m relieved and very grateful to everyone that has signed up and got behind it.”

Selkirk band Frightened Rabbit perform for the first time since the death of frontman Scott Hutchison in May when they headline the event in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park.

Josh Littlejohn

Josh Littlejohn launching this year’s event: ‘difficult to do two years in a row’ (pic: Terry Murden)


 

Duthie Park in Aberdeen was expected to host 1,800 sleepover participants where Eddie Reader led the entertainment. Aberdeen FC manager Derek McInnes read the bedtime story, while Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh read a story to those in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens.

Slessor Gardens was expecting 1,500 participants, entertained by the city own singer-songwriter, Kyle Falconer. Comedian and presenter Ewen Cameron hosted the evening in Dundee.

The money raised will provide support to 20 people living in the Social Bite village and initiatives throughout the year including employment programmes.

“We also have a massive nationwide campaign – Housing First – and we’re aiming to help 830 who are currently in a really desperate situation of homelessness or rough sleeping into their own flat they can call home,” said Mr Littlejohn.

He also said that the Scottish Business Awards will not take place next year, although there will still be a gala dinner for 2,000 who will be invited to donate to the homeless.  Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner has accepted an invitation to speak at the event on 13 March.

 



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