SLEEP IN THE PARK

Care group staff raise funds

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Clark

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

Cash boost

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