Social Bite | Ending Homelessness Case Study

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Posted by: Will Dixon, Research & Campaign Executive | Last modified on 20/12/2019

Social Bite is a social business whose mission statement is to “bring Scotland together, to build a collaborative approach to end homelessness here.” Social Bite has a number of programmes that endeavour to help those who need it most.


These programmes include; food provision and engagement programmes, a nationwide employment programme, Christmas dinners and presents, the Social Bite Village as well as Housing First Scotland, whilst also campaigning, producing academic studies on ending homelessness and supporting other charities.


The Social Bite Academy enables the employment of those affected by homelessness, which led to 32 people becoming employed in 2018.


As well as this the Social Bite Village provides up to 20 people affected by homelessness with the accommodation, support and opportunities needed to begin building an independent life for between 12-18 months. The Village is made up 10 ‘NestHouses’, each one shared by two residents, as well as an additional unit for staff, whilst there is also a weekly timetable of events which provide extracurricular activities as well as skill classes including cookery.


Social Bite is also aiming to build a movement through mass participation events including the CEO Sleepout, where 350 of Scotland’s business leaders slept out on a November night, raising £550,000 towards ending homelessness.


The success of this sleepout led to Social Bite launching Sleep in the Park, an annual large scale sleepout involving 10,000 people across Scotland’s four key cities. In 2017 this raised more than £4 million, while overall the Sleep in the Park initiative has raised almost £8 million. The money raised has resulted in 830 houses being made available to rough sleepers and homeless people, 150 jobs being offered and 35 spare rooms being offered as well.


The success of this annual initiative has led to the World’s Big Sleep Out trust, established by Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn of which Social Bite is a beneficiary and partner. This is a global call to end homelessness worldwide, and will culminate in a worldwide event staging flagship sleep-out events on the 7th December 2019 in Times Square in New York and Trafalgar Square in London, whilst Social Bite will be hosting the Edinburgh Sleep Out on the same date.


The aim of this campaign is to raise a target of $50,000,000 for homelessness and refugee causes worldwide, and partners include the Malala Fund, UNICEF USA and the institute of Global Homelessness. These partners will be best placed to support the target of 1,000,000 homeless and displaced people with the funds raised. To register to host or join a sleep out please visit the Big Sleep Out website.


Social Bite also distributes food and hot drinks to Scotland’s most vulnerable people. People who are either homeless or in food poverty are invited to Social Bite’s sandwich shops throughout the day, whilst they also host “social suppers” events. Social Bite also run a joint venture restaurant called Vesta Restaurant and Bar, which opens exclusively on Monday afternoons to serve a two course meal to those experience homelessness. Patrons can also ‘pay forward’ the cost of items in the restaurant to pay for those who need it most.


Future Work:


Over the next couple of months, we will be releasing further case studies and big ideas from both retail and other industries on how they are trying to address homelessness.

Read our case study on the Pret Foundation, Change Please, RICs, Unhoused and Beyond Food Foundation.

We will also be releasing toolkits on recognising vulnerability to homelessness and the impact of in-work poverty, and encouraging compassionate ways to manage rough sleeping in your area.

We will also be signposting to volunteering opportunities from now and over the Christmas period to help those without proper shelter as we work to eradicate rough sleeping once and for all.

Keep up-to-date with the latest work we are doing in this area on Twitter and LinkedIn.



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