Christmas Assemblies 2017

This year, our time for reflection Christmas assemblies explored the theme of 'unwanted gifts'. The chaplaincy team delivered a thought provoking assembly to each year group. Also included was a report from Claire Forrester, S6 about the school's Impact club and their recent 'sleep out' in the centre of Edinburgh.  Please take a minute to read Claire's report and consider her message to the school community this Christmas:

"On Friday 24th November, 25 of our pupils from the Impact Group completed the Under 18’s Sleep Out in aid of Rock Trust, a great charity which provides accommodation and skill development programmes for young homeless people aged 18-24. 520 young people were declared homeless in Edinburgh and the Lothians last year. With the main causes being family breakdown, mental health issues, drugs and alcohol misuse, we were eager to complete this challenge to highlight the issue of youth homelessness, as well as raise funds to combat the issue. The event has already raised £15,000 as a whole and we are looking forward to seeing that money being used effectively.

The event took place on George Street, Edinburgh, where we slept on the street for the night. The evening kicked off with a series of entertainment, this included a magician and a silent disco. We were privileged to have hospitality provided for us throughout, the hot chocolate was the life saver in heating us all up. As we settled for the night, it was really challenging to get to sleep due to the surrounding noise in the area. As well as this, temperatures dropped to 0 degrees, which was a massive problem as we prepared to sleep with all our layers on. Which meant it was extremely difficult to try and warm up in the early hours of the morning. The younger pupils felt shock when they discovered the conditions in which the young people had to live with and survive in. They couldn’t imagine how scared the teenagers must be.

We believed that this event would never be a true representation of the hardship and suffering that the young homeless people go through. However, when we lay down for the night with just pieces of cardboard between us and the concrete, it made us feel uneasy and uncomfortable at the thought of how vulnerable we had become. This was a small glimpse of what too many young people experience on the street each night.

The key learning points we took from this experience and how they relate to Christmas celebration:
Firstly, we woke up in the morning, after the Sleep Out, with a home with a hot shower and bed to go to. Extremely more grateful than before. However, young homeless people do not face this luxury. Their next worries are where am I going to warm up and get some food before I find a spot on the street for another night.
On Christmas Day, we are all surrounded by family, great food, gifts and company. However, you must consider the 100s of homeless people who do not have this luxury.
We would like you to reconsider the connotations that commonly come to mind when you see a homeless person on the street this festive period.

Thank you to all the pupils and staff who have kindly donated to this event already."