Formerly homeless Edinburgh man who has rubbed shoulders with George Clooney and cooked for Leonardo DiCaprio shows how Social Bite’s support can change lives
Before he began working at Social Bite, 55-year-old Colin was a heavy drinker and drug user who had spent years travelling all over the UK before he ended up in Edinburgh living on the streets for three years, but his life changed when he secured some work in 2013 with the charity initially handing out leaflets for a few hours each week.
When a job came up in the kitchen of one of Social Bite’s cafes he showed his interest and secured the job where he still works now.
Colin said: “I’ve come a long way since those days before. Life was hard and I spent three years on the streets, it’s cold and lonely and I didn’t want my family to know so I didn’t have contact with them.
“I first got in touch with Social Bite because a mate started working for them and I had seen too many mates dying over the years, I knew something had to change.”
Turning his life around wasn’t an easy feat, but the steady job and personal support from Social Bite’s senior training and support worker - Babs - has changed his outlook.
“I’ve become a better person because of the opportunities,” he added, “The personal support has helped me keep on the straight and narrow and being in a steady job really does change your life.”
He has also had the opportunity through his work to rub shoulders with the likes of George Clooney and cook for Leonardo DiCaprio, who are both amongst the celebrity supporters of Social Bite’s projects.
This year, he moved into a flat in Stockbridge and finally has a place to call his own to come home to, adding ‘it makes all the difference’.
Social Bite has launched the Festival of Kindness this year in a bid to spread some much-needed festive goodwill and kindness, the charity is asking Scots to donate meals, gifts and accommodation for those who need it most.
Colin is just one of many people that Social Bite has given the gift of a new life to over the years.
A 10-metre tall Christmas tree in St Andrew Square is open until December 23 for passers-by to donate for those most vulnerable and are looking for donations of anything from a warm pair of gloves, a hot water bottle and a torch to good quality socks and toys for children to open on Christmas morning.
Monetary donations to the charity will go to a range of support in their move to end homelessness.
Colin said: “The money goes to feeding homeless people who really need it, employing ex-homeless and homeless people and giving people the support that they might need to get through the day-by-day. It definitely just helps change people’s lives. It changed mine.”
To donate and find out more about the Festival of Kindness, please visit the Social Bite website.