On Friday 4th November, over 90 people from across central Scotland donned their beanie hats, scarves and gloves as they got ready to spend a night on the concrete of festival square for our flagship fundraising event, the annual Sleep Out.

This year, we were excited to have exclusive use of the Underbelly’s Spiegeltent on Festival Square… or rather the shell of the Speigeltent.

On the night, after the entertainment had finished and it was time for bed, the majority of participants opted to exit the tent, show solidarity with the homeless and sleep on the exposed and chilly concrete of festival square. Some participants remained in the shelter of the Spiegeltent – which actually kept in the cold making it a great deal chiller than outside. Brave souls.

The Sleep Out aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by many 16-25 year olds every night across the UK.

Last year’s sleep out raised over £50,000. This year’s Sleep Out, which also marks the Rock Trust’s 25th year supporting young homeless people in Scotland, has raised over £51,000 so far with donations still rolling in!

As well as individuals, including Ben Macpherson, MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, teams of students and colleagues from local and national companies joined the Sleep Out – including Heriot Watt University, Dune London, Islamic Society of Edinburgh University, DJ Alexander, Team Holyrood, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, Wood Mackenzie, Scottish Widows and the Alliance Trust. We are always very grateful to team leaders who rally their friends and colleagues to get involved and raise awareness of the Rock Trust and Sleep Out.

Participants built their own shelters to be in with a chance of winning some lovely prizes donated by the Sheraton hotel, and prizes for top fundraisers have been kindly donated by Pickles of Broughton Street, Neil Barton and author Andrew McCall Smith. La Favorita Delivered were there to feed our participants with pizza to keep them warm.

A  performance by guitar legend Nasher, from Frankie goes to Hollywood, kept participants entertained before everybody got creative and built their shelter out of cardboard, and then a silent disco to warm up the bodies followed by a bed time story read by Forth 1’s Mark Martin. It was then time to bed down to the cardboard to face the night ahead.

Our Chief Executive Kate Polson said: “We helped around 400 young people last year and over 15,000 since our first year in 1991. It is great to be able to say we have helped so many but it is also a sad thought that this many young people are still affected by homelessness.

The Sleep Out is not intended to replicate homelessness, it is meant to highlight the struggles some young people face, in the hope that more can be done to improve the lives of many young people.”

We are extremely grateful to everyone who braved the cold November night in aid of the young people who face homelessness every day in Scotland. The money donated will support our work with young people and our fight to end youth homelessness in Scotland in the next ten years.

Thank you – and see you next year!