SLEEP IN THE PARK
Care group staff raise funds
A group of care workers from east Perthshire who took part in a projec t designed to raise awareness of homelessness has described the experience as a wake-up call.
Staff from the Balhousie Care Group, which runs a number of care homes in east Perthshire, swapped their uniforms for sleeping bags at the beginning of December to take part in ‘Sleep in the Park’ to raise money and awareness of homelessness in Scotland.
The team of 20 managed to raise almost £16,000 when they spent the night sleeping out in sub-zero temperatures in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh.
Sav a n na He nve y a n d h e r mot h e r Jill McMeekin, both care assistants at Stormont Lodge in Blairgowrie, were among those taking part in the event.
Savanna said: “It was very challenging. It was so cold I hardly slept.
“In the middle of the night I had to get up and walk about just to try and warm up.
“But, I’m glad I did it - it gave me a completely different perspective and I saw what homeless people go through every night, not just for one night like we did.”
The care assistant added: “Most people judge homeless people and think their situation is down to drink or drugs. People are quick to judge.
“Now I’ll always try and give homeless people money if I pass them on the street.
“Spending the night at Sleep in the Park was also a chance to get know other people within the Balhousie Care Group organisation.”
The Balhousie team managed to raise £15,895, meaning they ranked in the top 10 corporate fundraisers for the event, and got the opportunity to meet Sir Bob Geldof on the night.
Steve White, the group’s CEO, was also one of the Sleep in the Park participants.
He said: “As a business we’ve always b e e n c o mmunit y c o l l a b o rat o r s a n d supporters of charity, but last Saturday’s experience at Sleep in the Park made us even more determined to do so.
“Sleep in the Park was a wake-up call in so many ways. After a freezing night, Tony [group chairman] and I resolved to up Balhousie’s game and draw attention to basic human issues.
“We see it as our duty, not only as successful business people but as human beings.”
● Balhousie Care Group is still collecting donations for their efforts online via http://uk. virginmoneygiving.com/team/ balhousie-care-group