3 min read
Support, solidarity and sleeping out
- On Saturday 7 December 2019, thousands of people across the globe joined The World's Big Sleep Out to create the world’s largest display of solidarity with, and in support of, those experiencing homelessness and displacement.
- Our CEO Richard Houston shares what inspired him to join the sleep out.
Sometimes when you meet someone, they inspire you to act.
I first met Josh Littlejohn, founder of the incredible global campaign to end homeless in September and heard his story of setting up a cafe called Social Bite in Edinburgh with his friend Alice Thompson. They donated all of their profits to social causes and offered jobs and free food to people affected by homelessness. From modest beginnings, Social Bite now has a chain of social enterprise shops in Scotland and a Social Bite Village that provides shelter and support for homeless people. Josh and Alice advise the Scottish Government on housing policies and their first ‘sleep out’ with 300 people in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens is now a global movement.
I was blown away by Josh’s absolute determination and passion that saw him turn one small cafe into a worldwide campaign to end homelessness. He inspired me to get involved.
So I signed up then and there to take part in the World’s Big Sleep Out along with 96 other Deloitte staff and their partners – spending the night sleeping in Trafalgar Square, in the middle of December. In true British style, the weather was pretty awful with freezing winds and lashings of rain to keep us company all night. We emerged from our sleeping bags around 5am and my legs were so stiff from the weather they felt like someone had ironed them.
The stark reality is, whilst we headed home for a hot shower to warm up, there are many people who do this every single night. They have nowhere to get warm, nothing to eat and no shelter from the elements.
Together, 97 Deloitte people slept out in cities across the UK to raise money to help end homelessness, raising over £130,000.
Josh Littlejohn and Alice Thompson set up a café called Social Bite in Edinburgh where profits are donated to social causes and jobs are offered to people affected by homelessness.
Social Bite now has a chain of social enterprise shops in Scotland, Josh and Alice advise the Scottish government on housing policies and their first ‘sleep out’ with 300 people in Edinburgh is now a global movement raising millions.
One Million Futures
The World’s Big Sleep Out and our support of Social Bite are just some of the programmes, charities, social enterprises and schools supported by Deloitte UK’s social impact goal to support One Million Futures. In 2020 we achieved this ambition and now aim to help an additional 5 Million Futures across North and South Europe by 2030.