Comhairle employees, councillors and other volunteers plan to join the Big Sleep Out next month, spending at least part of the night sleeping out in Stornoway town centre.

The national event is organised by Social Bite, a Scottish charity, and they plan for it to go global this year, with a planned 50,000 people sleeping out all over the world to raise money for homeless and displaced people. The idea originated as Sleep in the Park in 2016 and is now supported by celebrities, politicians and thousands of ordinary people.

Last year schoolchildren from Sgoil nan Loch’s senior Gaelic medium class (Primary 4-7) slept on the floor of the agricultural shed at Laxay Showground, raising the amazing total of £1,671 for their efforts.

They chose to go 'technology free' for the night, as they felt homeless people wouldn't be using mobile phones or gaming equipment, and to keep themselves warm they played football, had pillow fights and wrote Christmas cards to the homeless.

Making the local contribution this year volunteers are going to spend the night of the 7th December sleeping in the vicinity of the Failte Centre. They’re encouraging anyone who is prepared to participate, with warm clothes and a sleeping bag are essential.

Organiser Lorraine Graham said: “It will be weather dependent but should go ahead unless the forecast is atrocious. It may end up being less of a 'Big Sleep Out' and more of a 'Wee Norrag' but at least we all have warm beds to go home to.

Contact the Homelessness Service on 01851 822821 if you'd like to join on the night, or if you’d rather support the effort from the warmth of home, you can make a financial donation here https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LorraineGraham1. Donations will be shared between local and worldwide homelessness charities.

Lorraine said: “Our local target (£1000) is quite modest so let’s see if we can smash it! We really appreciate all your support and thank you for any donations. You are also more than welcome to join us on the night.”

(Since first being posted, the local target has been restated to the correct figure)