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Hacking and Paterson Helping the Homeless

Published on 21/04/2020

As part of our commitment to our Corporate Social Responsibility, our 2020 focus is on those sleeping rough and struggling families, in temporary accommodation, all of whom, we are advised, are also especially vulnerable to the effects of the current COVID-19 virus, with many suffering from pre-existing health conditions, having nowhere to wash their hands, and those put up in shared emergency housing struggling to self-isolate if they need to. Whilst the Scottish Government has pledged an emergency support package to help, we are aware of warnings, issued by several charities, that a number of hurdles still remain because of the complex range of issues many homeless people have.

With the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many charities are also currently concerned about their financial position. Hacking and Paterson have the strong belief that, with the severe impact charities are facing during these difficult times, it is vitally important to ensure donations continue to reach our chosen charities, and we were delighted to donate £5000 to assist the great work of Social Bite. Our people look forward to taking up the invitation by Social Bite, to visit and see more of what they do within local communities, as soon as it is safe to do so.

For our customers unfamiliar with the work of Social Bite, their website identifies that it was started by Alice Thompson and Josh Littlejohn in 2012 as a Sandwich Shop in Rose Street Edinburgh, but not just any sandwich shop, Josh and Alice decided to operate as a Social Business giving away all profits to good causes. In the space of just six years, Social Bite has gone on to employ 70 people and operate a chain of five social enterprise sandwich shops across Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen as well as a food delivery service called “Social Bite Delivers”.

Today their Social Bite Academy enables the employment of people affected by homelessness (32 in 2018) and also supports homeless people to volunteer (45 in 2018). They distribute more than 140,000 items of healthy free food via their cafes each year and their weekly Social Supper events connect 400 vulnerable people with food, support and opportunities.

Social Bite also have a restaurant, Vesta Restaurant & Bar, formerly called ‘Home’ which opened in 2016 and which provides weekly sit-down meals for 40 people experiencing homelessness and food poverty, as well as training opportunities for Social Bite’s supported employees.

There has been great publicity over Social Bite’s major fund-raising and awareness campaign which began with the CEO Sleep Out in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh in 2016, the following year, 2017, they ran Sleep in the Park in which 8,000 people slept out in Princes Street Gardens, raising £4 million, and since then Sleep in the Park has extended to Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen as well.

Social Bite launched their Social Bite Village in May 2018, a highly acclaimed and innovative supported community for up to 20 people affected by Homelessness.

Josh Littlejohn of Social Bite commented:

“Just a brief note to say THANK YOU so much for your donation. It has made a massive difference to our ability to scale up our production and distribution of these emergency free food packs. We had been planning to distribute 3000 packs per day.

This will grow again as we begin distributing food in Dundee also, alongside Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

As well as homeless people, these food packs are reaching children in poverty and elderly people.

Thank you so much for your support!”

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