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KT Tunstall thanks sleepout fundraisers for ‘solidarity’ with homeless

KT Tunstall said she was proud to be part of the fundraiser (Sleep in the Park/PA)
KT Tunstall said she was proud to be part of the fundraiser (Sleep in the Park/PA)

KT Tunstall has thanked the 10,000 fundraisers taking part in a mass sleepout for showing solidarity with homeless people and helping collect £3.2 million.

Tunstall and fellow singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald performed a whirlwind four gigs in one evening as they loaned their support to the Sleep in the Park event taking part in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Members of the public had to raise a minimum £100 to spend the night in a city park with only sleeping bags and mats for comfort.

Tunstall told the crowd in Dundee’s Slessor Gardens: “We see it every day – people who haven’t had the opportunity they hoped they’d have, and they’ve ended up in a really difficult situation.

“One thing I always hear is that homeless people feel like people can’t see them.

“It’s fantastic that we’re showing solidarity tonight and we do see them, and we do want to help. Thank you for being involved. I’m so proud to be part of Social Bite tonight.”

The sleepout arranged by social enterprise Social Bite has so far raised £3.2 million in sponsorship and donations.

The cash will go towards tackling homelessness through housing projects and employment programmes, and supporting those on the streets with shelters and hot food and drink.

Macdonald told the crowd in Dundee: “It’s a privilege to be here and be a small part of this. It’s such a worthy cause and it’s so amazing that you guys are doing this.”

Comedian Fred MacAulay hosted the Edinburgh event, which included a performance by Lulu and a bedtime story from Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh in West Princes Street Gardens.

Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park saw the first performance of Frightened Rabbit since the death of lead singer Scott Hutchison, and a surprise appearance by Biffy Clyro.

Grant Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit said: “Social Bite has encouraged Scotland to consider homelessness as something that can be eradicated completely from the country.

“For us to be a part of such an ambitious movement is a honour. The links between mental health and homelessness are undeniable and for Frightened Rabbit to be able to highlight both problems by playing our songs is a great opportunity.”

Social Bite said its ongoing work had resulted in 830 houses being pledged to a nationwide Housing First programme to enable rough sleepers to get their own long-term tenancies with “wrap-around” support.

A total of £3 million of the cash raised from the 2018 sleepout will go towards the cost of the support, combined with £6.5 million pledged by the Scottish Government.

Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn said: “This is a night that we collectively gave a voice to the people who have never had one – and the event will have the very direct impact of helping 830 people off the streets in Scotland.

“Scotland is a small enough country, a compassionate enough country and a collaborative enough country, where nobody has to be homeless.

“It is not a question of resource, it is simply a question of focus. And what the participants have all done tonight, by giving up their beds is put a razor sharp focus on the issue.”

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