Five Burnbrae Primary School pupils are to sleep under the stars to raise money for a homeless charity close to their hearts.
P5 pupils Cosmo MacDougall, Cole Hood, Lachlan Johnson and Ollie Willis (all 9), and Robert Hodge (8) are having a Wee Sleep Out in Robert’s garden to raise money for Social Bite. The boys smashed their initial £150 target in a day have so fair raised an impressive £895.
Cosmo explained why the Bonnyrigg boys are doing this fundraiser, he said: “My mum took part in Sleep In The Park last year to raise money for Social Bite. I wanted to do it with her but wasn’t allowed.
“So when she told me that this year is Year of the Young People and Social Bite want us to organise our own Wee Sleep Outs I asked my mum if I could do one with my friends and she said yes.
“We’ve heard about all the good things that have been done with the money raised last year, like the Social Bite Village and giving money to other charities like Grassmarket Community Project, and we wanted to help this year so they can help more homeless people.”
The boys will also have a dress down day at school for donations, and they recently spoke at assembly about why they’re fundraising.
Since taking on the challenge the boys have learned a lot about homelessness. Ollie said: “We didn’t know much except that people don’t have any homes and we’re really lucky that we do. Since we’ve started raising money we’ve learned a lot more. Not everybody sleeps on the streets but they can still be homeless because they don’t have a safe place to live.
“We met a big issue seller who sleeps in a church with 70 other people and even though she’s not sleeping on the street it’s still not a real home and it’s not good enough.
“We did a talk to our school and told them about the big number of children that are homeless in Scotland and it was 14,000 - that’s a lot and it makes us sad.”
Last week the boys visited a Social Bite cafe, as well as Grassmarket Community Project to speak to its CEO about homelessness
Wee Sleep Out host Robert added: “We’re doing the Wee Sleep Out so we can raise money to help homeless people. And the more everyone talks about it and do things to help, maybe other people will want to help homeless people too.
“We’re doing Our Wee Sleep Out in my garden as it’s big and it has a bit of shelter in the corner in case it’s raining or snowing.
“And I’ve got a trampoline if we want to sleep on it. A man we spoke to who had been homeless said that this might help keep us a bit warmer as we won’t be on the ground.”
Lachlan revealed that the boys have invited a famous children’s writer and comedian to their fundraiser.
He said: “We’re excited about it. At Sleep in the Park last year they had entertainment, so we will be doing shows ourselves to keep each other entertained. And we’ve written a letter to David Walliams to ask if he’ll come and read us a bedtime story. He hasn’t got back to us yet!
“We don’t know how much sleep we’ll get as it will be really cold but at least we only have to do it for one night, not like homeless people.
“And we’re lucky as we will have lots of sweeties and in the morning we’re having a big breakfast.”
The main thing for the boys is raising money.
Cole said: “We’re really happy. We set ourselves a £150 target but we smashed that in a day. So then we made it £250 then £500 but we keep getting more. Our last target will be £1000 and if we reach that it will be amazing and much more than we ever thought.
“We still have our dress down day we’ve organised at school where people will be donating to not where their uniform for the day, so hopefully we’ll hit our target.”
To donate, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/joanne-macdougall-1