Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Sandwich chain Social Bite offers homeless help

Josh Littlejohn Image copyright John Littlejohn
Image caption Josh Littlejohn (L) and Alice Thompson (second L) said they had been amazed by people's generosity

An Edinburgh sandwich shop which raised enough money to offer 36,000 plates of food to homeless people is now offering advice alongside food and drink.

Sandwich chain Social Bite has partnered with housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland.

Now anyone receiving a free meal will be pointed in the direction of Shelter Scotland's free national helpline and support services.

Last December Social Bite sold more than 36,000 meals through Itison.com.

People were asked to make a #£5 donation to help provide a hot cooked meal for a homeless person on Christmas Day.

The sandwich shop had hoped to get enough to offer 800 meals to feed homeless people in the capital, but raised enough money to feed homeless people through their Glasgow and Edinburgh premises throughout 2015.

It will now give a leaflet with Shelter Scotland's contact details to anyone receiving a free meal.

Cooked meal

Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, said: "We want to make every donation that led to a free meal count, not just today or tomorrow, but long into the future. That means offering more than the basics.

"We're thrilled to be joining forces with housing experts at Shelter Scotland and hope that by working together we can help many more homeless people move out of poverty, off the streets and into homes of their own.

"The idea is that as well as getting something as basic as a cooked meal, we can point people in the direction of the specialist advice and support they need.

"We hope that together with Shelter Scotland we make a difference to each and every homeless person who comes through our doors."

Currently, one in four Social Bite employees are formerly homeless people.

The sandwich shop has already donated money to support the charity's work and will donate a further £4,000 this month to help with the roll-out of the partnership.

Nobel Peace Prize

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: "Social Bite's innovative approach to helping homeless people is to be applauded.

"You just have to hear some of the experiences of their own staff to see the positive impact they have on the lives of homeless people.

"We are very grateful to Josh and his colleagues for choosing to raise valuable funds for Shelter Scotland.

"Support and generosity like this enables us to offer vital services to those experiencing homelessness and housing problems across Scotland."

Social Bite was started by Mr Littlejohn and co-founder Alice Thompson two years ago.

It has outlets in Edinburgh and Glasgow and plans to open in Aberdeen and Dundee later this year.

The founders were inspired by a visit to Bangladesh, where they met Nobel Peace Prize winner and microcredit pioneer Prof Muhammad Yunus.

Social Bite gives 100% of its profits to charity and recruits people from homeless backgrounds.

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