Behind these statistics are individuals in need of help and support. I know there is more that can be done to reduce inequalities and ensure people have the opportunities to use their strengths and talents to improve their lives. So I was delighted when we launched our three-year partnership with the Big Issue who have already done so much to help tackle homelessness and support some of the most vulnerable members of society.
With cold winter months ahead, we are calling for improved training for nursing staff and NHS professionals on the causes and consequences of homelessness, and encouraging homeless people without a fixed address to register with a GP surgery.
For me, and colleagues in the RCN Scotland team, when the opportunity came up to support the action on homelessness by local social enterprise Social Bite, we knew we had to rise to the challenge. So, Joanne, Liza, Lorna and I will be joining 9,000 others, in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, on the 9th of December for the world's largest ever sleep-out — Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park.
While I have spent many a night under canvas, the thought of sleeping rough in the middle of the Scottish winter is definitely daunting. For me, it will only be one night – for the 100s of people living on the streets in Scotland, it’s their daily routine.
The RCN team will also have the company of thousands of participants, including a number of RCN members, who are united in the aim of raising £4m to eradicate homelessness in Scotland within the next five years.
It would be great if you would consider sponsoring the RCN Scotland team – no amount is too small and every penny will help us towards our target and, more importantly, help support finding long-term solutions to homelessness in Scotland. Scotland is a small country, but by raising funds and working together we can make a big difference and help get people off the streets and back on their feet.
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Theresa Fyffe, Director, RCN Scotland