The Co-Founder of Social Bite, the charity initiative which supports homeless and displaced people, Josh Littlejohn MBE has today revealed plans for its international Sleep Out campaign, the ’World’s Big Sleep Out’.
The World’s Big Sleep Out will see fundraising events take place in towns and cities across the globe on December 7th 2019, supported by a list of internationally recognised faces including Dame Helen Mirren and Will Smith. The campaign aims to see a total of 50,000 people sleeping out in their respective cities on the same night, bringing global attention to the issue of homelessness and international displacement. Across the world, not only adults but children are on the move after being forced to flee their homes and sleeping on rocks instead of a safe bed. The campaign will call for an end to global homelessness, highlighting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) that every country in the world has signed up to to end homelessness by 2030.
Cities already confirmed to be taking part include, London (Trafalgar Square), New York (Times Square), Edinburgh (Princes St Gardens), Chicago (Lincoln Park), New Delhi (Central Park), Newcastle, Dublin, Belfast, Madrid, Barcelona, Brussels, Cardiff, Santiago, Rijeka and Kharviv with more to be announced as the event gets closer. The events will feature world-renowned music acts, as well as a bedtime story read by some of the most famous voices in the world, including Will Smith and Dame Helen Mirren.
Registration to join the event will open to the public in early September, and each applicant will commit to fundraising as much as they can. It is hoped that an estimated 50,000 participants will collectively achieve a fundraising target of $50,000,000 which will be distributed to a range of homelessness and refugee focused charities throughout the world. As well as benefitting local charities where the events take place, partners for the campaign include the Malala Fund, UNICEF USA and the Institute of Global Homelessness who will be able to support a target of 1,000,000 homeless and displaced people with the funds raised.
This global event follows on from the success of Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park events in 2017 and 2018, which was held in Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen. The mass fundraiser saw around 18,000 people give up their beds over the last 2 years, raising a total of almost £8 million. A new charity, called The World’s Big Sleepout Trust has been established to govern the funds raised, whilst funds raised in the USA will be managed by UNICEF USA with the support of Robin Hood Foundation.
The general public can register for an official event or sign up to “Host Your Own” sleep out in their backyard, office car park, high school or university campus by visiting www.bigsleepout.com.
Josh Littlejohn MBE, Social Bite and WBSO Founder, said: “For one night, in backyards, hometowns and iconic locations across the globe, we will sleep out in unison to create the world’s largest display of solidarity with those experiencing homelessness and displacement. I would like to encourage people from all walks of life to join the movement, sleep out and raise funds to support those that have no other choice. This is a call to city governments, business leaders, students, school children, religious groups and people from all over the world. Whether you sleep out in your backyard or Times Square New York, together we can raise a target of $50,000,000 to tackle homelessness and displacement, whilst sending a message to the World’s political leaders to ensure that everyone has a safe place to call home.”
Dame Helen Mirren said: "Homelessness on our streets is a real problem in the UK and for many nations throughout the world. This coupled with an unprecedented number of refugees being displaced internationally makes this a really important time to focus attention on the issue of global homelessness. The World’s Big Sleep Out campaign will play an important role in shining the political spotlight on the issues of homelessness and displacement whist raising considerable funds to make a big difference. I am pleased to have this opportunity to make a contribution by performing a “bed-time” story for participants in London, which will also be screened at sleepout events happening throughout the world. I’d like to encourage anyone who cares about this issue to get involved by sleeping out, in solidarity with those who have no choice, on December 7th."
Malala Yousafzai, co-founder of Malala Fund said: “Educated girls have the power to transform our world. But without a home or access to education, millions of refugee and displaced girls are unable to fulfil their potential. I am excited to partner with Social Bite and have their support for Malala Fund’s work to help refugee girls get back into school.”