School children have spend a night sleeping on the floor of their school to raise money for charity.

Continuing their charitable work on social justice, particularly poignant at this time of year, Junior 4 to Junior 6 pupils from St Columba’s School in Kilmacolm arrived at their main hall at 8pm and slept in the school until morning.

During the evening they created some messages for homeless people to receive at Christmas.

Whilst this is not outdoors, the hall floor gave a small flavour of the discomfort felt by those who experience homelessness on a daily basis. Supper and breakfast was basic and comfort was minimal.

This was in support of Social Bite’s Wee Sleep Out, which aims to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by those who are homeless in our society. A ‘Wear what you want day’ and a bake sale helped to raise in excess of £2,500 for Social Bite.

Ewan Aitken from the Cyrenian’s visited the school children earlier in the year and his uplifting message of social engagement set the tone for charitable activities over the following months. The children are participating in a number of events to highlight the struggles that many people living in the area face on a daily basis, and to support Foodbanks and Social Bite.

Both charities support those in crisis and need in our own communities in Scotland with Renfrewshire Foodbank helping over 6000 people last year alone. Social Bite has a desire to end homelessness in Scotland and has a number of initiatives including the Social Bite cafes, with the Pay it Forward scheme, and the new Social Village.

Commenting on the experience, Isaac Roebuck, a Junior 5 pupil at St Columba’s said, “It was a great experience that we have all learnt a lot from.”

A weekly Foodbank collection is in place at St Columba’s between now and Christmas with Junior School gathering items for Renfrewshire Foodbank and Senior School collecting for Inverclyde Foodbank.

Junior School children will also participate in a Reverse Advent Calendar. This is an initiative whereby rather than a child receiving a gift, the child on their allotted day brings something in for the Foodbank Box under the School Christmas tree.

At this time of year Senior School participates in the annual Spirit of Christmas gift collection by donating presents for children of all ages, from infant to 18 years. This year Saheliya, a specialist mental health and well-being support organisation, is the nominated recipient so that children and mothers within this group will receive a gift on Christmas Day.

Mrs Duncan, Head of Junior School at St Columba’s, said: “As we continue to develop our children’s growing sense of compassion and social responsibility we strengthen our engagement with local and national charities. It is a pleasure to see the children and their families coming on board so readily with the ideas that we all have for developing such a depth of social awareness. The children have fully embraced the cause and found the Wee Sleep Out to be enlightening and also humbling. My hope is that our children will grow with a keen understanding of the world around them and a desire to participate in society for its benefit and good.”