Dons’ backing for Aberdeen’s Sleep in the Park charity event

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Aberdeen FC and housebuilder Stewart Milne Homes have pledged their support to a homelessness charity fundraising event.

Around 50 members of staff from the Aberdeen-based housebuilder and the Dons are getting ready to take part in Sleep in the Park, an event aimed at raising cash for the homeless, taking place at Duthie Park this Saturday.

Run by social enterprise Social Bite, the event will see thousands of people across Scotland exposed to the elements as they spend a night outside.

The construction firm has already raked in nearly £10,000 in donations and hopes to add to that total this week.

Boss Stewart Milne said: “I’ve looked out my sleeping bag and will be wearing as many warm clothes as possible. It will be a challenge but a worthwhile one.

“We’re doing this for one evening, amongst colleagues, friends and family, whereas thousands of people do this every night alone.”

Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park: Sign up to make a difference

Cash raised from the Sleep in the Park will be going to support Housing First, an initiative supported by Social Bite, as well as local authorities and the Scottish Government.

Housing First, which has been trialled in countries like Canada and Finland in recent years, aims to offer a “wrap-around” service to people who are sleeping rough.

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Supported by local charities in the local area, the initiative offers people housing, as well as support for any issues that they may have, including addiction and mental health problems.

Around 120 properties have been pledged to Housing First in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Mr Milne said: “Every day, Stewart Milne Group is providing people with new homes, and this Social Bite event is an opportunity to raise awareness of the plight of those less fortunate and help ensure everyone in Scotland has a place to call home.

“This is a prime opportunity for our staff to get involved and help this charity to move closer to that end goal.”

Josh Littlejohn, the co-founder of Social Bite, said: “The money raised by Stewart and his team will go directly to getting people out of shelters, away from rough sleeping or cadging places to sleep and into long-term, supported accommodation across Scotland. They’re part of a movement to actually do something about the issue.”

The Granite City iteration of the event, which takes place at Duthie Park, is hosted by Fairground Attraction singer Eddi Reader.

Dons boss Derek McInness will also be on hand to read a bedtime story to the 1,800 people signed up to take part.