Our Managing Director is sleeping rough - this is why...
A couple of weeks ago, I was on my way to an optician's appointment. I parked my car, paid at the meter, stuck the sticker on my windscreen and then this happened...
A young, homeless person, lying in a cardboard box with his arm oustretched started shouting at me.
"I know you! I know you! Do you remember me??"
I looked at the young man with his overgrown beard and marks on his face. "No, I don't think so", I said and walked on and in a flash, it came back to me.
I did know him.
I sat down and started talking. I used to coach football to him when he was a young teenager. He's 26 now. His mum committed suicide a few years ago by throwing herself in the Rive Clyde then his dad drank himself to death as a result - he has no other family and his girlfriend threw him out a few months ago - he can't get a room via Shelter as he is regarded as low priority. I spent some time talking to him and helped him in whatever ways I could, but it got me thinking. In fact, I didn't stop thinking.
A couple of days later, I business colleague mentioned a charity event which was happening in December. The Social Bite CEO Sleep Out. Social Bite is a growing chain of sandwich shops which is run as a social business. 100% of the profits go to good causes, and a quarter of their staff are formerly homeless people.
When I was invited to do the CEO Sleep Out, my initial reaction was to say yes, which I did and then the reality of my acceptance started to sink in.
Sleeping rough. For one night. In December. In Edinburgh.
Then the reality of the bigger picture started to set in.
Sleeping rough. For only one night. In December. In Edinburgh.
For every other night of my life, I have had a safe, warm place to sleep – my bed. For many, finding a safe warm place to sleep is a challenge. A bed is a luxury.
So often we take the basic things in life for granted. I know I am as guilty of doing that as perhaps you are. We are lucky. But, as we all know, life can deal an unexpected card and things can change very quickly. Just like they changed for the young man I met again a couple of weeks ago.
The Social Bite CEO Sleep Out I’m taking part in will raise funds to break the cycle of homelessness in Scotland for good by supporting Social Bite’s plan to build a village for homeless individuals to live for 12 months. This village will not only put roofs over people’s heads but will also be paired with full support to help people get back on their feet.
I only have to do this for one night.
This is days, nights, weeks, months and years for many people all over our country.
If you're reading, please do donate whatever you can and please, please share far and wide – every little bit counts and every share helps.
You will be helping a homeless person get back on their feet and start living again.
Everybody deserves that chance.
Click here to donate.
MD - Davidson Asset Management