A COMMUNITY hub costing tens of thousands of pounds is to help residents learn vital life skills within the Capital’s first homeless village so they can get their lives back on track.
The aim of the pioneering project, based in Granton, is to help residents to tackle issues that have troubled them in society and allow them to regain a foothold on the jobs’ ladder as well as adding a fresh social housing offering for those in need.
As part of Social Bite’s 10 two-bedroom home development, the village community hub, funded by Scotmid Co-operative, aims will provide a safe community space for residents to eat together, socialise, work, learn and receive support.
People living in unsupported temporary accommodation, shelters, hostels and B&Bs will be those who will move into the village when complete and they will have a dedicated support team from Social Bite and Cyrenians to help them transition into permanent accommodation and employment.
Both energy efficient and eco-friendly, the community hub will be a key component of the project which will enable residents to learn ‘life skills’ such as money management guidance and cooking lessons, as well as provide a place to socialise and meet with mentors or health visitors.
Scotmid Co-operative CEO John Brodie said: “This is an incredibly important initiative and, as soon as we were made aware of it, Scotmid was keen to help wherever possible.
“Scotmid is committed to making a difference to the lives of our communities and the Social Bite Village is a real example of this.
“We are really excited about what can be achieved and how this innovative project can address the homelessness situation in Scotland.”
The facility will provide a safe living environment for up to 20 people from a homeless background for around 12 months at a time.
Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn thanked Scotmid for their sponsorship and says the project will offer credible alternative to what he believes is a “broken temporary accommodation system” for homeless people.
Social Bite has been endorsed by a number of celebrities with visits with Prince Harry and fiancee Meghan Markle visiting recently as part of their visit to Edinburgh.
In December 2016, cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy was among 300 influential people who slept outside in the centre of Edinburgh to raise £500,000 towards the new village.
Josh Littlejohn MBE, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “The Community Hub is an integral part of the Social Bite Village and will play a vital role in the day-to-day lives of our residents.
“It will be a place where they can relax, dine and socialise with each other in a safe environment, as well as receive the necessary help and support they need to integrate back into society where they belong.
“I am so grateful to Scotmid Co-operative for their generous donation to fund this part of the project, and can’t stress how much of a difference this will make to the lives of those soon to be moving into the village.”