Kirkcaldy business leaders sleep out to help homeless

Sheila and Jay are doing their bit to help build a homeless village in Edinburgh. Pic by George McLuskie
Sheila and Jay are doing their bit to help build a homeless village in Edinburgh. Pic by George McLuskie

Two Kirkcaldy businesspeople are preparing to spend a night sleeping on the streets of Edinburgh to raise money for a charity which plans to build a village to help homeless people.

Sheila Matthew (Milne), a director with Crosbie Matthew funeral directors and Jay Todd, managing director of Multiprint in the town are planning to sleep outdoors in the capital’s Charlotte Square on Thursday to help boost funds for the Social Bite’s proposals to build a dedicated village to house up to 20 homeless people.

Jay gets in some practice for sleeping outdoors

Jay gets in some practice for sleeping outdoors

And, although it is not a challenge they are relishing, both Sheila and Jay say it will be a small sacrifice to help those less fortunate than themselves.

“We are under no illusion that this will be nothing like what it is really like to be homeless,” said Sheila (50), a mum of three who lives in Kinghorn.

“We will be together with around 250 other businessmen and women from around Edinburgh, and will be fully supported, but it is raising awareness and opening up another network of people to support the charity and raise more money.

“I complain when I have to take the dogs out for a walk in the rain and the other night I was thinking how awful it would be to have to face that every night, so I am a bit apprehensive.”

Jay (43), who is originally from northern Ireland and now lives in Kirkcaldy, added: “Statistically we are all just three bad decisions away from being homeless, so I am happy to put myself in slight discomfort for a night to help.

“I am looking forward to it – bring it on!”

Sir Chris Hoy is just one big name supporting the event, and will join those taking part, while Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister has also volunteered to help out by serving breakfast.

Sheila explained that she had been roped into taking part by a family friend just last week, and she in turn had invited Jay to join her.

And the two have set up Just Giving sites to raise funds, with Sheila’s total currently standing at over £1500 of her £2000 target and Jay’s at £1000 of his £500 target.

Each of those taking part will be provided with a sleeping bag, with the bags being given to homeless people in the capital afterwards.

The new village is planned for land at Granton in Edinburgh with ten units providing shelter for up to 20 people who would be supported for up to a years to help them find permanent accommodation and jobs.

Sheila added: “I love my comfy bed and duvet, so this will be difficult for me, but it’s just one night while I know thousands of people face it every night.”