In August of 2012, a small sandwich shop opened on Rose Street in Edinburgh. That store, Social Bite, would go on to become a major force in tackling homelessness in Scotland and across the UK.
Fast forward to March of 2022, and Social Bite landed in London, opening up a coffee shop on The Strand, Westminster. And in the short time since it’s opened, they’ve already provided 2,000 free meals to people experiencing homelessness in London. To celebrate the incredible milestone, Social Bite are offering a week long promotion of cake for just £1 with every coffee purchased from March 15-22. The promotion will also coincide with the first anniversary of the opening of the social enterprise coffee shop.
Said Josh Littlejohn MBE, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Social Bite:
“Launching our first coffee shop outside of Scotland was a huge landmark for us and to be able to operate a similar model to Scotland and grow our impact work throughout London too has been a vital part of this next step. From employing staff who come from a background of homelessness, to offering a daily free food service which is powered by our customers choosing to Pay it Forward in-store, our coffee shops are at the heart of our work. And today we want to thank our London customers who have chosen our Social Bite Coffee Shop and have contributed to the mission of ending homelessness.”
Social Bite in London
Social Bite’s London location is the charity’s first outside of Scotland. Their ‘Pay It Forward’ initiative has raised over £12,000 in just a year, and allows them to provide meals in the form of vouchers that can be redeemed at their store. These are distributed with the help of their London charity partners, which include the likes of The Connection and The Passage.
Social Bite also has a Jobs First programme that helps people experiencing homelessness to gain training and employment. A number of the UK’s biggest employers have already signed up with Social Bite, resulting in 9 individuals in London so far finding employment. Among them is Bola, who now works at the Social Bite coffee shop following a two-month period of homelessness. Said Bola:
“This really is a dream job for me that I have wanted for a really long time. I love serving and chatting to the customers. The training and support that I receive from Social Bite has not only helped me to learn new skills but has also given me more confidence both in work and in my day-to-day life. I am glad I have been given the opportunity where I can develop my skills further.”
Across the UK, in the year since it launched, the Jobs First initiative has helped over 30 formerly homeless people find employment, working with over 7 employers across the UK.
How you can help
Customers at Social Bite can ‘Pay It Forward‘ by by purchasing a meal or a hot drink for a someone experiencing homelessness during their visit. You can also make a donation online, volunteer your time, or help them establish corporate partnerships to further their mission. Find out more, and find out how else you can get involved, here.
You can find Social Bite’s London coffee shop at 448 Strand, WC2R 0QU. The nearest station is Charing Cross.