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Graham Awards


Agency chief executive's sleep-out gives insight into homelessness

Paul Hilton, chief executive of the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre, has given an insight into what it’s like to be homeless after sleeping out for the night for charity.

“It was tougher than I thought. It was a real eye-opener, literally, as I didn’t sleep very well. There were quite a few people huddled together, and there were a few more anti-social people like me who found their own little space by themselves” says Hilton.

“But it really does make you appreciate it. One night is OK but trying to get comfortable, and doing that every single night, would be very tough. And when it rains, you get wet. We had plastic bags over our sleeping bags, but even then, the water gets inside, and you can feel it getting into your bones.

“It was a mild night, but if we were doing that in sub-zero, it would be real hardship. To help us appreciate it we had a Q & A session with three guys who had previously been homeless, and they were talking quite honestly about it and how difficult it is, and the cycle it creates with not being able to get into employment, so it was very thought-provoking.”

Paul Hilton raised £1,550 for the Social Bite village, which aims to house up to 20 homeless people in a safe environment, while also offering comprehensive support and work placements.


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