This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Homeless man pays back charity with £4k donation

This news post is over 7 years old

Former homeless man comes to aid of charity which once supported him

A worker of a social enterprise cafe has come to the aid of homeless charity Streetwork – nearly 10 years after it helped him off the streets.

Sonny Murray (36) from Edinburgh, who works for not-for-profit sandwich chain Social Bite, stepped in after discovering Streetwork’s council funding had been cut by £200,000.

The decision was especially poignant for Sonny as he had experienced the devastation of homelessness and drug addiction before being hired by the eatery two years ago.

Sonny has since been promoted by the cafe, which ploughs profits back into the community and where a quarter of the workforce is formerly homeless.

He approached founder Josh Littlejohn who agreed to donate an initial £4,000 from September’s profits to Streetwork with a commitment to donate more in coming months.

Littlejohn said: “It makes me proud to do something to help Streetwork because they’ve helped me loads. It’s Social Bite’s money and we’ve all worked to earn that.

This is about enabling homeless people to help raise money to help other homeless people

“This is about enabling homeless people to help raise money to help other homeless people.”

Sonny was helped into housing in 2006 by Streetwork, which helps around 4,000 homeless people a year across Scotland’s capital, bringing safety, shelter and security into their lives.

But the charity has had to change services for vulnerable homeless people after seeing its council funding reduced by 13.5% in June this year.

Streetwork’s chief executive Kenny Forsyth said: “We understand the council’s position and the funding issues that result from ongoing public sector austerity.

“That is why we are delighted to develop relationships with the private sector to support funds to help us update the Crisis Centre and hopefully bring back our 24 hour service.

“This donation from Social Bite was a really welcome surprise and we’d like to thank Sonny for thinking of us.”

Sonny, who works in the firm's Rose Street premises in Edinburgh, said: "When I was homeless I went to Streetwork. They gave me an appointment to look at hostels and bed and breakfasts and eventually got me into a hostel.

“The amount of things they do for the homeless people is unbelievable. It’s an in valuable service.

“A lot of people rely on this charity and wouldn’t be able to turn their lives around without it.”

Streetwork has said they are using the £4k donation to spearhead a bigger appeal to fund the renovation of its Edinburgh crisis centre.

Social Bite operates a "suspended" coffee and food programme which allows customers can pay for a hot drink or food for a homeless person.



Be the first to comment.