Zoo snooze raises £24,000 for homeless
Edinburgh’s Lord and Lady Provost were joined by 126 local fundraisers as they braved a cold night at the Zoo.
The sleep out, which took place outside, close to the popular Penguins and Lemur Walkthroughs, was compered by Grant Stott. Featuring talks with charity workers, some of the city's youngest rough sleepers and comedian Susan Morrison, participants were moved by stories of teenagers living without a home.
The brainchild of Edinburgh's Lady Provost Elaine Brand, the event was the first of its kind for the Zoo. She said: "I’m overwhelmed by Edinburgh’s fundraising efforts. So many people got behind the event and raised vital funds for charity.
"Homelessness in Edinburgh remains a pressing issue and while nobody can truly experience the struggle of sleeping rough based on one night in the cold, everyone who took part will take away the knowledge of just how difficult this year’s colder months will be for our young homeless people."
The Lord Provost Donald Wilson added: "I’m so glad that together, we were able to make a difference. Our sleepover at the Zoo was certainly a challenge and leaves you feeling so thankful to have a warm bed with a roof over your head to go home to.
"That is something some of Edinburgh’s young people wouldn't have without the efforts of the Rock Trust and Four Square. These charities are hugely important for Edinburgh’s struggling young people who find themselves with nowhere else to turn.”
Heather Arni, Chief Executive of Four Square: "On behalf of myself, The Board, staff and importantly our young people I would like to extend a huge thank you to the Lady Provost and her team, the staff of RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, all the individuals who attended and those who have donated. Such an event has enabled both charities to raise awareness of young people's homelessness in Edinburgh and the services that work tirelessly across the city working with vulnerable, disadvantaged young people."
Kate Polson, Chief Executive of the Rock Trust: "We hope that the people who slept out understand that because of the amazing amount of money raised, some of our young people won’t have to go through other nights like that. The Sleep Out participants have contributed to the provision of vital services which will help young people to overcome homelessness and build better futures. We are overwhelmed with the enthusiasm of all of those involved."
(Image courtesy of the Edinburgh Evening News)