There is now less than a month to go until Social Bite’s Wee Sleep Out comes to the Borders, and any youngsters wanting to take part but yet to sign up are being urged to get a move on.
It is anticipated that several hundred children aged eight to 17 will bed down for the night in sleeping bags in Kelso’s Springwood Park hall as part of a nationwide sleepout to raise money for the Edinburgh-based charity and awareness of its campaign to end homelessness.
After the success of last December’s Sleep in the Park event in the capital, a younger version called Wee Sleep Out is being held across the country, and the Border Union Agricultural Society’s showground will host the biggest such event in our region on Saturday, November 10.
Originally lined up for Friday, November 9, but now pushed back a day, it’s open to all schoolchildren aged eight upwards, but those taking part need to sign up by Wednesday, October 31.
Kelso High School has now been joined by Selkirk High in organising the event, suggested by Livvy Ferguson, a pupil at the former.
Livvy, 16, of Kelso, said: “It is taking off, with so many people coming forward to support it and lots of schools talking about it now, which is fantastic, but schools still need to sign up before the October 31 deadline.
“It was great to get support and enthusiasm from Selkirk High staff and students and the wonderful Quarriers staff now supporting students in Borders schools.
“That means we will have plenty of Protecting Vulnerable Groups-disclosed adults at the event, along with teachers, who have been brilliant in coming forward to offer their support.
“We can also announce that the fantastic Borders singer-songwriter Erin Highton will be performing, along with the popular M-Pulsive Dancers and DJ Pries, and Radio Borders will be there too.
“Hopefully, we’ll have one or two more acts to confirm.”
Borders transport companies have also pledged their support, with Robertson’s Buses agreeing to pick up youngsters from across Berwickshire, Borders Buses running services from Galashiels to Kelso via Selkirk and Hawick to Kelso via Jedburgh and Austin Travel picking up in Earlston and Melrose.
“That support has been huge because it means schools don’t have to try to find money to transport children, and so we’d like to thank them,” added Livvy.
“Also, we’d like to thank the Border Union Agricultural Society, Kelso Laddies’ Association, teachers and our entertainers for getting behind the event.
“We’re also speaking to catering companies and would like to hear from anyone who wants to support our part in the campaign to end homelessness.”
Angela Freeman, service co-ordinator for Quarriers’ Borders resilience for wellbeing service, said: “We are delighted to support this fantastic event and support schools and youngsters.
“Quarriers works with young people aged between 10 and 18 to improve their wellbeing, build confidence to work towards their goals and help them to develop the resilience to cope when times are tough.
“This event is a great example of the ambition of our youngsters and how they can help others, and we’re sure it will be a great show of Borders’ support for tackling homelessness.”
Social Bite co-founder Alice Thompson stated: “The Borders has really taken to Livvy’s Wee Sleep Out in Kelso, and we’re supporting her and the Kelso and Selkirk schools to attract as many young people as possible.
“The venue can take up to 600, so there is plenty of space for those who want to spend a night in their sleeping bags supporting our campaign to end homelessness.”
But get signed up before the deadline so they can get it all in place!”
To sign up, go to www.sleepinthepark.co.uk/wee-sleep-out