Stars sign up to multi-city ‘Sleep in the Park’

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Scottish rock stars Amy Macdonald and KT Tunstall will perform in four cities in the one night as part of a major crusade to curb homelessness in Scotland.

They will fly around the country in a helicopter to help Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn stage an expanded “Sleep in the Park” event in Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow.

Josh Littlejohn has announced a new expanded Sleep in the Park which will take in Scotland's 4 main cities in the same night. Picture: Contributed

Josh Littlejohn has announced a new expanded Sleep in the Park which will take in Scotland's 4 main cities in the same night. Picture: Contributed

The “multi-city sleep out” is expected to be Social Bite’s biggest ever fundraiser, with an initial target of £6 million set up Littlejohn.

It is hoped 12,000 people will sign up to brave the cold on Saturday 8 December, when other leading acts will perform in each of the four cities.

READ MORE: Edinburgh Sleep in the Park events raises over £4m

Macdonald and Tunstall, who will start the night in Aberdeen and finish in Edinburgh, will play sets of around 20 minutes each in the four locations. Author Irvine Welsh will be appearing in Edinburgh to read “bedtime stories” to the expected army of fundraisers in Princes Street Gardens, where comic Fred MacAulay will host the event.

Others acts and hosts appearing at the four fundraisers will be revealed over the next few months.

Mr Littlejohn, who has won the backing of George Clooney, Leonardo di Caprio, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, has set out ambitions to try to end homelessness in Scotland.

Liam Gallagher, Deacon Blue, Frightened Rabbit, Rob Brydon and John Cleese were among those to entertain around 8000 participants during the initial event last December, which raised more than £4 million.

Some of the proceeds from the first Sleep in the Park, which was staged in sub-zero temperatures, have help pay for 500 homes to be made available to homeless people and “rough sleepers,” 160 jobs being offered and 35 spare rooms being made available throughout the country.

The event has also helped to bankroll the creation of Scotland’s first “homeless village” in Granton, in north Edinburgh.

Princes Street Gardens will again host the Sleep in the Park event in Edinburgh, Dundee’s Slessor Gardens and Duthie Park in Aberdeen have been lined up, and the Glasgow fundraiser has been lined up for Kelvingrove Park, in the city’s west end.

Mr Littlejohn said he wanted to help meet demand for more Sleep in the Park events as well as allow fundraising efforts to focus on the areas with the highest rates of homelessness.

READ MORE: Leader: Sleep in the Park vital to raising awareness

Mr Littlejohn said: “We were completely blown away by the thousands of people who joined this movement and supported Sleep in the Park last year.

“There has been an overwhelming response from people who want to do it again rather than just see it as a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

“The event in Princes Street Gardens worked very well last year, but we wanted to make it much easier for people in other parts of the country to take part.

“It was quite difficult for people outwith Edinburgh to travel to the city and make the commitment to take part in the event just a couple of weeks before Christmas.

“We’re going to providing support for homeless people in all four of these cities.

“We feel there is a real opportunity with the event to raise and invest money locally and provide support in a way that will make significant inroads.”

Mr Littlejohn said he hoped the sight of thousands of people sleeping out across Scotland on one night would create a “political mandate” to end homelessness.

He added: “We will be more campaign orientated this year. If we want Scotland to be a country where no-one should be homeless we need to make sure that the politics of all this is front and centre.

“We need to make it is a political priority for the national government as well as each of these local authorities.”

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