National recognition has come for the senior Gaelic medium class (Primary 4-7) at Sgoil nan Loch who signed up to take part in last year’s Wee Sleep Out to raise funds and awareness for the Scottish homelessness charity Social Bite.

The Sgoil nan Loch was placed 10th in the Wee Sleep Out fundraising league. As they were in the top 11 fundraisers, parent/organiser Mairi Mackenzie and two pupils from the class were invited to attend Social Bite's Thank You dinner in Edinburgh.

The keynote speaker will be Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai and the event will be held in the EICC on March 13.  Malala Yousafzai defied the Taliban as a young girl in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. For her activism, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012, but survived and went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala Yousafzai's book, "I Am Malala," became an international bestseller.

The youngsters at Sgoil nan Loch were very excited by the news of their success and everyone wanted to attend so they chose two names at random and now Ryan Macdonald and Lewis Prior from P4 will be attending the event with Mairi.

Aided by a handful of parents the children slept on the floor of the large agricultural shed at Laxay Showground on Friday November 16th

This was a child-led event and the children took responsibility for planning the event and organising activities on the evening. The children unanimously opted for the event to be 'technology free' as they felt the homeless wouldn't be using mobile phones, or gaming equipment. To keep themselves warm they played football, had pillow fights and undertook various other activities including writing Christmas cards to the homeless.

Although the children were sleeping inside, they were on a concrete floor in a building with no heating on a night when temperatures dropped to near freezing.

The following morning many of the children admitted that although they had fun they were very glad to be able to go home to their own warm bed.

In total the children have now raised an amazing £1671 for the charity Social Bite, quite an achievement for a class of 16 children

Mairi sais: “We would like to thank everyone who made this event possible; Lochs Show committee for use of the shed, Tesco for supplying cardboard for the children to sleep on, DoE for supplying sleep bags/mats and the volunteer parents who also slept out for the night.

“We are extremely grateful to Hilary Heggie who came to do a Pound Fit session with the kids to warm them up before bed.

“Finally we would like to say "moran taing" you to Euan Macleod from Museum nan Eilean who came along to tell a bed-time story which turned into a selection of spooky Gaelic tales as requested by the children!

The Wee Sleep Out was part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 which is about providing opportunities for young people to show the world what they are made.

The Social Bite Fund (SC045232) is a registered charity in Scotland which seeks to alleviate homelessness through innovative solutions from employment and support programmes, to temporary housing.