By Rick Ballard, Partner, Financial Advisory - Transaction Services, DeloitteA good night's sleep – Rick’s Story
It's that time of year, as we approach the festive season that we might think of those who are sleeping rough or using homeless provisions as we're tucked up in the warmth of our homes. Take one minute to contemplate how you would feel being out in the cold every day and every night. It’s just unimaginable but unfortunately some people have no choice.
That’s why Deloitte joined over 8,000 others in Princes Street Gardens on the 9th of December 2017 for the world's largest ever sleep out. The Sleep in the Park has a mission to help eradicate homelessness in Scotland within a 5 year period - we wanted to be part of this and help make a difference.
Why did you decide to sleep rough for a night?
“Have you ever walked past a homeless person huddled in a doorway or cocooned in a sleeping bag on a bench? It's hard to see people living on the streets, particularly at this time of year when it is bitterly cold. I can’t begin to understand what it is like for a homeless person and the wider issues they have to deal with.
That's why I - along with twenty seven colleagues from Scotland signed up to Sleep in the Park. It’s not something I normally would do but that’s why I had to do it!”
What was it like on the night?
It was an amazing night with an astounding array of people from all walks of life who were all prepared to make a commitment and contribution. However, to experience one night of sleeping outside was a lot tougher than I thought.
Believe me, sleeping in freezing hard conditions in Princess Street Gardens was like nothing I had done before. It was penetratingly cold in the park and I had extra layers and a super warm sleeping bag. That said I was able to return to my family in the morning, not having a regular meal, a hot bath or a safe place to go that you can call home is unimaginable.
My thanks to Josh Littlejohn and the Social Bite team for organising this event, for highlighting the unacceptable number of people living without a roof over their head and pointing out a few small things we can do about it.
In terms of housing:
- EdIndex which includes The City of Edinburgh Council and a number of housing associations have collectively offered an amazing 275 homes for homeless people in Edinburgh;
- Wheatley Group has pledged an additional 200 homes for people in Glasgow and the central belt;
- If you include the Social Bite Village, that's 495 homes across the central belt!
The money raised will help fund the support structure for the people moving into these tenancies. This will include addiction support, getting a bank account in their name, support with mental health, helping them into employment and more - removing them from the cycle of homelessness and finally including them in our society.
Together we have taken a massive step toward ending homelessness in Scotland and I’m proud to have been part of this along with my Deloitte colleagues. As a collective team we have raised over £25,000 - thanks to everyone who has sponsored us and supported us. We couldn’t have done without all your encouragement!