Swapping his sea legs for sleeping rough, David MacBrayne Ltd chief executive officer Martin Dorchester will join 100 business leaders in Edinburgh to raise money for Social Bite.
Each of the 100 has signed up as part of the charity’s CEO Sleep Out in Charlotte Square on December 15 to raise both cash and awareness of the issue of homelessness and the vulnerable people affected by it.
Martin is also managing director of CalMac Ferries – operator of the UK’s largest ferry network – and has long been a vocal supporter of social enterprise and responsible business behaviours; he is chairman of FirstPort, which provides support, resources and funding to enable social enterprises to be established and grow. And, indeed, it was FirstPort which supported Social Bite in the first instance.
He did not hesitate when asked to take part.
All money raised by Martin will help fund Social Bite’s work with homeless people, including the development of an innovative village with houses built from shipping containers for 20 homeless individuals to live in for 12 months. This village will not only put a roof over someone’s head, but will also be paired with full support to help them get back on their feet.
“This small commitment on my part is the very least I can do to raise awareness,” said Martin. “Yes, it will undoubtedly be cold. Yes, it will undoubtedly be uncomfortable. Yes, it will undoubtedly be somewhat daunting. But it is nothing at all in comparison to those for whom the unpredictable elements and fear are simply part of life.
“I will spend just 12 hours on the pavement at the heart of the capital – and I will then have the privilege of returning to my job, home, family and friends. On that night, there will be security and a degree of comfort afforded by the knowledge that people are taking heed of our welfare. We will have eaten well.
“So, yes, lying on the ground in a sleeping bag gives us a tiny taste of life on the streets. But it doesn’t even come close to the reality faced by tens of thousands across Scotland who, for a vast array of differing reasons, find themselves displaced, dispossessed, overlooked, shunned and in danger. If my night of discomfort can make a tangible contribution towards breaking the cycle of homelessness, then it’s well worth a bit of a chill and a couple of aching bones.”
Donations in support of Martin, Social Bite and, ultimately, the thousands of Scots who find themselves homeless can be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Dorchester