West Lothian campaigner John Keogh raises cash to pay for waterproof-coat sleeping bags for rough sleepers

John Keogh hopes to have raised around £5,000 with his latest sponsored “Sleep-Oot.” (Photo: LDR)
John Keogh hopes to have raised around £5,000 with his latest sponsored “Sleep-Oot.” (Photo: LDR)

A campaigner who works to improve the lives of rough sleepers hopes to have raised around £5,000 from supporters of the latest sponsored “Sleep-Oot.”

Broxburn’s John Keogh last year launched The Ootsider as a community interest company to manufacture all-weather waterproof coats which can convert to sleeping bags. He won the backing of 22 supporters who joined him for the latest fund-raising “Sleep-Oot” at the Gyle centre in Edinburgh at the weekend.

The company was launched with a series of “Sleep-Oot” events organised by John and his friends last December which raised money to start manufacturing the all-weather coats. The coats are popular with outdoor sports enthusiasts such as hikers and cold water swimmers. Money raised from these sales provides Ootsider coats to rough sleepers free of charge.

John told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I just want to say a massive thanks to everyone who has done, and continues to support The Ootsider. This just proves again, that together we can achieve so much more. Initial calculations are in the region of £5,000 which will provide 35 sleeping coats for rough sleepers.”

John added: “It was a successful Sleep-Oot at Gyle, and everyone went home knackered, having experienced only a fraction of what a rough sleeper goes through on a daily / nightly basis. We all went home for a warm breakfast… they wouldn’t. We all went home for a sleep in a comfortable and warm bed … they wouldn’t, and we won’t be doing it tonight … they will..”