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Social Bite Village

The Social Bite Village is an innovative, highly supported community for up to 20 people affected by homelessness. The purpose of the Village is to offer the right support, living environment and opportunities for someone from a situation of homelessness to build an independent life.

The idea for Social Bite Village came out of conversations Social Bite had with people supported by and employed in our social enterprises, who had experience of living in temporary accommodation. They told us that B&B accommodation does not provide a suitable platform for people to escape from homelessness so we took action.

The Village is made up of 10 ‘NestHouses’ – each shared by two residents plus an additional unit for staff. There is also a large, central Community Hub, which is the focus of community life – where residents can cook, eat and socialise together. The Hub is also the base for much of our training and support activities.

There is an active weekly timetable including opportunities ranging from yoga, ‘daily mile’, and bike rides, to a cooking club and DJ sessions. We anticipate Community members will live at the Village for approximately 12-18 months. Over this time, people will contribute to the life of the community, learn a range of new skills and engage in work and voluntary placements.

After 12-18 months, we will support residents into permanent accommodation and support them to make this transition ‘stick’. As each person moves on, a new Community Member will join to be supported and mentored by their fellow community members. Community Members are people who were previously living in temporary/emergency accommodation including homeless hostels and B&Bs.

The Village is designed to be an active and highly supportive community. We have engaged partners, Cyrenians, to provide a highly skilled and experienced staff and volunteer team at the Village. Staff and volunteers are crucial in providing positive role models to residents, running a health and wellbeing programme as well as being a consistent and supportive presence on site.

In addition, Hillcrest Housing Association is a partner in the project and provides a Housing Officer who manages each resident’s occupancy. Hillcrest also provide facilities management for the Village ensuring the buildings and site are maintained to the highest standard.

Social Bite believes for a community to be truly transformational, it is fundamental that Community Members are involved in the shaping and forming of it, at every stage. The Social Bite Village is an experimental project, built upon the expertise and lived experience of those who have created similar developments. The Social Bite Village was built thanks to a massive collective effort from a range of companies and individuals, supplying everything from windows to project management expertise. The project spurred the public’s imagination and stands as a tangible symbol for hope and doing things differently.

Creating a Blueprint

The overall ambition is to create a full circle solution to the issue of homelessness – from housing support to employment. In doing so we hope to alter the course of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable people for the better – swapping a destiny of poverty and exclusion for one of compassionate support and inclusion. This, in turn, will provide a blueprint for addressing homelessness that can be replicated either by other private individuals, other charities or governments in Scotland or further afield.

We do not believe this is a one-stop solution for all homelessness, but for a subset of the homeless population who have fewer complex-needs, do not have a present addiction issue, and are motivated by living in a community and achieving employment and independent living. We believe we can create a scalable solution.

Pay it Forward

Pay in advance for a coffee or any item of food from our menu and a local homeless person can come into any of our shops to claim it.

Make a regular donation

Through regular support we can plan ahead with certainty. We want to ensure we can continue to provide our homeless communities with the food, shelter and support they rely on. Please become a regular supporter today and help make a difference.

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