A charity boss has spoken of his hopes that more than £4 million can be raised to help support people sleeping rough.
Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, was speaking ahead of tonight’s Sleep in the Park, aimed at raising cash for the charity and its new initiative Housing First.
More than 1,800 people will turn out at Aberdeen’s Duthie Park to be entertained by the likes of KT Tunstall and Amy Macdonald, as well as Dons boss Derek McInnes, who will be reading a bedtime story to the crowds.
Temperatures are expected to plunge as low as -1C overnight.
The initiative has expanded this year after only taking place in Edinburgh last year.
Josh is gearing up for a good night in the Granite City.
He said: “You never really know what to expect when you expand.
“I hoped people would get behind it and local businesses would get behind it and they definitely have. Everyone has been fantastic and we’re getting ready for a great night at Duthie Park.”
Josh hopes they can smash the target before the end of the year.
He said: “Currently we’re thinking around 10,000 people are going to take part (nationally) and it looks like we’ll be able to get the whole £4m by Christmas time, which is obviously a fantastic achievement.”
Housing First is an initiative aiming to offer “wrap-around” support to people sleeping rough.
As well as housing, people will also get help for any other issues they have, including mental health or addiction problems.
The project exists in several other countries. There is an extremely successful version in Finland, where long-term rough sleeping has been all but eradicated.
As part of the project, landlords have released around 820 properties across Scotland, 120 of them in Aberdeen or Aberdeenshire.
The scheme, part-funded by the Scottish Government alongside Social Bite, started its pilot period in Aberdeen during November and several users have already been moved in while receiving support from Aberdeen Cyrenians, Turning Point Scotland and Aberdeen Foyer.
Social Bite is hoping the funding will allow the project to last two years and Aberdeen City Council chiefs told the Evening Express yesterday they hope to be in a financial position to carry it forward.