Dundee-born Hollywood star Brian Cox has claimed city residents struggling with addiction and homelessness have been “ignored for too long”.
The Succession actor opened the Edinburgh leg of the World’s Big Sleep Out in West Princes Street Gardens by saying the time has come to address homelessness.
An estimated 60,000 people – including several Hollywood A-listers – are taking part in charity sleep-outs around the world.
As well as raising funds, the events encourage people to reflect on the plight of the homeless and displaced, and this year it teamed up with Unicef and the Malala Fund.
Mr Cox said: “It has gone on long enough. We have just accepted these norms which shouldn’t be accepted.
“I remember cardboard city in Waterloo, I used to rehearse there, at the National Theatre, I walked past there and it would be a few people sleeping out, but by the time of the end of my rehearsals it was about 250.
“It’s just accepted as a norm, and it’s worldwide – it’s an example of worldwide lack of care that we’ve allowed this situation to get out of hand.
“It has to be curbed, I don’t think you’ll ever get rid of it but it has to be curbed.”
The actor said of his home city: “Dundee has elements of it. The problem in Dundee has been, of course, people have been ignored for too long, and it’s the rise of addiction, drugs addiction.
“Again these are people that we’ve not known how to take care of, and they don’t really know how to take care of themselves, and that’s the tragedy of it.
“Dundee has always been a tough city in that way.
“It’s the city that Churchill cursed when he was kicked out, it’s sort of got itself up and it’s really done a lot, but there’s still this kind of core at the centre of it which needs huge attention.”
Organisers of the World’s Big Sleep Out, which began on a small scale in Edinburgh in 2016, said 52 cities are participating in this year’s event, from Brisbane to Los Angeles.
Fundraisers in London’s Trafalgar Square are being treated to a bedtime story by Dame Helen Mirren, while Will Smith will do the honours in New York’s Times Square.
The campaign was founded by Josh Littlejohn, who started the sandwich shop Social Bite in Edinburgh to offer employment to homeless people.
The Rose Street premises has been visited in recent years by Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney.