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Sgoil nan Loch’s senior Gaelic medium class (Primary 4-7) signed up to take part in last year’s Wee Sleep Out to raise funds and awareness for the Scottish homelessness charity Social Bite. 

Aided by a handful of parents the children slept on the floor of the large agricultural shed at Laxay Showground on Friday 16th November.  

This was a child-led event and as such the children took responsibility for planning the event and organising activities on the evening. 

The children unanimously opted for the event to be 'technology free' as they felt the homeless wouldn't be using mobile phones, or gaming equipment. 

To keep themselves warm they played football, had pillow fights and various other activities including writing Christmas cards to the homeless.

Although the children were sleeping inside, they were on a concrete floor in a building with no heating on a night when temperatures dropped to near freezing.  The following morning many of the children admitted that although they had fun they were very glad to be able to go home to their own warm bed.  

In total the children had by then raised an amazing £1671 for the charity Social Bite, quite an achievement for a class of 16 children. 

One Parent Organiser said: “We would like to thank everyone who made this event possible; Lochs Show committee for use of the shed, Tesco for supplying cardboard for the children to sleep on, DoE for supplying sleep bags/mats and the volunteer parents who also slept out for the night.  

“We are extremely grateful to Hilary Heggie who came to do a Pound Fit session with the kids to warm them up before bed. 

“Finally we would like to say "moran taing" you to Euan Macleod from Museum nan Eilean who came along to tell a bed time story which turned into a selection of spooky Gaelic tales as requested by the children!

The Wee Sleep Out is part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 which is about providing opportunities for young people to show the world what they are made of! In the spirit of Scotland’s current Themed Year, we want young people to take the lead and to showcase their creative skills and talents as part of your Wee Sleep Out development so it’s important their views are heard and acted upon – now is the time to give young people the power to create change!

The Social Bite Fund (SC045232) is a registered charity in Scotland which seeks to alleviate homelessness through innovative solutions from employment and support programmes, to temporary housing.

Another key aim of the Social Bite Fund is to promote a new way of doing business through the promotion of a “Social Business” model, where 100% of the profits of trading companies are directed at social problems in Scotland.

Social Bite wholly owns two companies which operate the Social Business model, namely Social Bite, a chain of retail stores and catering concessions, with a quarter of its workforce coming from a homeless background; and Vesta Restaurant and Bar which provides training and employment opportunities for homeless and vulnerable people, as well as a Pay It Forward option. Vesta Restaurant and Bar also provides a weekly sit down meal for those experiencing homelessness in Edinburgh, taking place on a Monday 3 pm – 5 pm.

In 2018, the Social Bite Fund established the Social Bite Village, a community of modular housing for 20 homeless people in Edinburgh with the aim of supporting these people into permanent housing and employment, breaking the cycle of homelessness for good.

(welovestornoway.com apologises for the delay in posting this item which was supplied soon after the event itself. Every now and again, things go completely awry!)