Published: Mon, December 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Central London 'sleep out' in support of homeless

Central London 'sleep out' in support of homeless

As his own step toward doing that on a global scale, Littlejohn, the owner of a chain of Scottish sandwich shops and an advocate for providing jobs, shelter and housing for people who need them, has organized an event for Saturday called the World's Big Sleep Out.

The actress was among the high-profile names supporting the World's Big Sleep Out event, alongside actor Will Smith in New York's Times Square.

In Edinburgh, veteran actor Brian Cox spoke to crowds in West Princes Street Gardens and in NY, film star Will Smith delivered a speech.

"It makes me emotional thinking about it right now", Smith said. "You know to not have a place to go and to be able to lay your head down with your children at night is a horrendous tragedy".

Organisers were expecting more than 50,000 to take part globally, with other events in cities including New York, Brisbane and Dublin. The event was also joined by Hollywood stars such as actor Will Smith who read a "bedtime story" to the crowd.

Thousands of people have camped out overnight as part of a global effort to raise cash to tackle homelessness.

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Mr Littlejohn started the Sleep Out event in Edinburgh four years ago with 270 people in Charlotte Square. Many homeless people are forced to deal with bad weather conditions on a daily basis.

"Over 62,000 people in NY, including 22,000 kids, will sleep in shelters tonight and the number of homeless people and refugees in cities around the world continues to hit record highs with each passing year".

Littlejohn, 33, said he had no idea that he would become interested in finding worldwide solutions to homelessness when he opened Social Bite, an Edinburgh sandwich shop, about seven years ago.

The Office for National Statistics has said estimates for the number of people rough sleeping suggest numbers are increasing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but estimates based on homelessness applications suggest numbers are decreasing in Scotland.

He said this weekend's World's Big Sleep Out would fund 100 charities.

The Rose Street premises has been visited in recent years by Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney.

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