There are 73,000 homeless people in Scotland. That’s why Girlguiding Edinburgh and South East Scotland Scouts teamed up with Bethany Christian Trust to organise the first ever Guide and Scout Big Bethany Sleep Out!
Bethany has been organising a Big Sleep Out for 15 years. The fundraising event challenges people to give up their bed and sleep in a cardboard box for the night. The Guide and Scout Sleep Out saw 240 young people become #BethanyHeroes by sleeping out under the stars to raise money for Bethany and raise awareness of homelessness.
We caught up with the 89th Edinburgh Guides at the event. Molly, Katie, Katie, Aimee, Eloise, Corinne and Clair started their fundraising before the event with a sponsored walk raising £60. When we asked them how they were feeling about sleeping rough they said, “cold, excited, and worried!” Leaders Lynn and Naomi hoped it would be a great experience for the Girls.
After a talk about the amazing work that Bethany do, and a warning not to sneak off with any of the Scouts, the girls queued up for soup and bread from Bethany’s Care Van. The Care Van provides food and advice to people sleeping rough 363 nights a year: every day except when the Festival and Hogmanay fireworks prevent the van from accessing the city centre. After feeding the young people at the Sleep Out, the Care Van went out as usual to provide vital soup, sandwiches and advice to people sleeping rough just a few minutes walk from where the Scouts and Guides would be sleeping.
After soup, there was shelter building using cardboard boxes, a wide game and campfire singing before the Scouts and Guides tried to get to sleep.
The next morning Lynn reported that they had all had a fantastic time. The Guides loved sleeping under the stars and making friends with the Scouts! They are already asking if they can take part again next year.
The Scout and Guide Sleep Out has already raised an amazing £7,500: enough to provide 233 nights in Bethany’s emergency winter care shelter. That is 233 nights in a warm, safe bed with a hot meal and good advice.