When the cold bites …

Cupar Explorer Scouts braved the coldest night of the winter so far when they slept rough in Haugh Park raising more than £1000 for homelessness charity, Social Bite.

Eight Cupar teenagers, who are all pupils at Bell Baxter High School, wrapped themselves up against sub-zero temperatures when they slept under the stars at the town’s bandstand.

The youngsters made make-shift shelters from cardboard and bedded down for the night as temperatures dropped to minus three degrees centigrade.

The Wee Sleep Out

The event was held in support of Social Bite, which believes that shelter is a human right and that everyone deserves a warm bed and a safe home. Cupar Explorer Scout leader Helen Cammack was one of four adult volunteer leaders who also took part.

Helen praised the teenagers for their resilience, team work and consideration for others saying: “The Explorers slept rough on the coldest night of the winter so far, creating their own shelters for warmth. We discussed some of the issues facing homeless people and learned how hard it can be to seek temporary accommodation.

She added: “The Explorers reflected on how lucky we are to have a safe, secure, warm place to sleep for the night. Our Explorers learned loads and are keen to continue engaging with the issue of homelessness. I’m very proud of their consideration for others and their resilience.

One of the Explorers who took part was 17-year-old Lilly Marwood, a sixth year pupil at Bell Baxter High School. Lilly said any support towards ending homelessness, no matter how little, is “unbelievably important“, adding: “Just one night out in the cold and we found it very difficult to get to sleep and to not feel overly conscious about our surroundings.

Lilly said she could not imagine how it must be: “Every single night and then again every day – not being able to have a warm breakfast or go home like we did and to have every other worry on top of this about food, clothing or anything to help keep the cold away. As a group we hope to understand a little bit more about what people who experience homelessness go through to try and remind people that this is something that needs to be discussed more, especially with the cost of living rising and a big increase of people struggling to stay in housing and be able to afford rent. There is so much more we can be doing to help even if it’s just smaller things like this.


Another adult leader who took part, Alison Milne, praised the Explorers for their team work, humour and sense of responsibility saying: “I felt the Explorers approached the event with introspection and a lovely respect noting how fortunate their lives are. They set up their shelters, helping each other and created a calm resilient atmosphere together.

Alison added: “Whilst the temperatures dropped and we bedded down for the night, they were quietly chatting and singing. If they were anxious about not sleeping and being cold it did not show. Their resilience and quiet determination to see the night through with no drama was lovely to experience. It made me feel proud of their approach but not surprised either as they approach these kinds of task through our scouting activities many times.

Social Bite is a movement to end homelessness, which began life as a small coffee shop in Edinburgh in August 2012. As a charity and social business, it provides homes, jobs, food, and support to empower people to transform their own lives.

Social Bite’s vision is a society where no one should have to be homeless. The charity challenges the status quo by pioneering solutions that create lasting change.

Wee Sleep Out is all about engaging young people in Social Bite’s mission to end homelessness, providing a safe, educational and fun avenue for young people to learn about this form of poverty in Scotland and what can be done to help. Social Bite recently announced its plans for a “world-leading” £1.9m addiction recovery village in Dundee.


Cupar Explorers are grateful to family and friends who have so far donated more than £1000 to their Social Bite fundraiser. The fundraising page remains open for donations via this link.


Thanks for reading.