Sir Chris and a team of riders will cycle 60 miles from his namesake velodrome in Glasgow to the flagship Social Bite Village in Granton in Edinburgh on September 5. Supporters of the Break the Cycle challenge can also take part in weekly 60-minute spin classes at gyms across Scotland and participate in virtual events from home to raise money.
Homelessness is a growing problem in the UK and the current provision of temporary accommodation like hostels and B&Bs does not provide suitable, supportive, cost-effective environments to enable people to escape it.
Social Bite’s solution is to bring vacant land back into use by creating community villages with prefabricated housing and a community hub. The charity also invests in tailored support to upskill residents and give them opportunities to sustain their own secure tenancies.
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The money raised from the upcoming cycle challenge will be used to build two new villages - in Glasgow and London.
Edinburgh-born Sir Chris, a six time Olympic champion and PureGym ambassador, said: “The pandemic has exacerbated the already severe problem of homelessness across the UK, whilst also demonstrating the importance of exercise in protecting the nation’s physical and mental wellbeing.
“I can’t think of a better charitable campaign to support than Social Bite’s Break the Cycle campaign, which will raise funds to help rebuild people’s lives, whilst also improving the health and fitness of the nation. We are looking for people across the UK to join in the fight, whether you’re cycling 60 miles or doing 60 minutes of exercise at home you can help us to break the cycle of homelessness.”
Social Bite started as a sandwich shop in Rose Street in 2012 and has since grown to a major driving force in tackling homelnessness in Scotland and beyond. One in three of their staff have experienced homelenesses and the charity has been visited by various famous people interested in their work including Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney.
Social Bite’s 2017 and 2018 Sleep in the Park events in Scotland raised nearly £8 million, with more than 18,000 people sleeping out. Funds raised from this were used to build their flagship village in Granton in May 2018 and 39 people have since been housed there.
In 2019, the charity’s founder Josh Littlejohn MBE created The World’s Big Sleepout, a global campaign to raise awareness of homelessness. This campaign saw 60,000 members of the public sleep out in 52 cities worldwide and was supported by actors Will Smith and Dame Helen Mirren.
The charity is also the largest distributor of free fresh food to the homeless in the UK, giving out more than 140,00 items of food and hot drinks per year. In response to the pandemic, more than 800,000 emergency food packs and essential items were distributed.
Josh Littlejohn MBE, Social Bite co-founder, said: “We are really excited to be teaming up with PureGym. The amazing support of their clubs, colleagues and members will help make two new Social Bite Villages a reality.
“The money we raise from our Break the Cycle fundraising campaign will enable us to develop communities that will have a transformative impact on people’s lives in two more cities.
“We’re so grateful to everyone taking on a challenge – every effort you make and every penny you raise will be helping someone break the cycle of homelessness. Thank you.”
How to sign up
Supporters can also take part in 60-minute charity spin classes every Thursday throughout August in Pure Gym’s Scottish clubs, except in the Kirkcaldy club.
PureGym will also be hosting a continuous 24 hour ‘spinathon’ on Wednesday, August 25, involving gym staff in three clubs at Aberdeen Shiprow, Edinburgh Quartermile and Glasgow Bath Street.