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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Leonardo DiCaprio visits homeless restaurant in Edinburgh

This news post is almost 7 years old

The Oscar winner enjoyed lunch prepared by workers from homeless backgrounds at the new ‘pay it forward’ restaurant

Oscar winning actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio visited the Social Bite run Edinburgh restaurant, Home today.

DiCaprio, who won his gong for The Revenant, ate at the restaurant that provides food, training and employment opportunities for homeless people in Scotland.

He also took time to pose for photographs and sign autographs with dozens of well-wishers who took to the streets of the capital to follow the Hollywood megastar on his much publicised visit to the capital.

The star is in Edinburgh today to speak at the Scottish Business Awards this evening which are organised by Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn.

For Leo to choose to highlight this initiative whilst in Scotland is very humbling and we are grateful to him for raising the awareness

While in the city DiCaprio visited Home and even had lunch with the winner of a competition which saw each entrant donate £5 to Social Bite to enter.

The restaurant, which is a joint venture between Social Bite and a local restaurant group Maison Bleue, aims to provide a great restaurant experience whilst at the same time giving customers the chance to ‘pay it forward’ by paying for a meal in advance for a homeless person

Homeless people are then invited in every Monday to dine with dignity, as well as being offered job opportunities to help break the cycle of homelessness.

“It was such an honour to have Leonardo DiCaprio visit our brand new restaurant, Home,” Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, said.

“For Leo to choose to highlight this initiative whilst in Scotland is very humbling and we are grateful to him for raising the awareness.”

Four staff who are all from backgrounds of homelessness – Biffy Mackay, Sonny Murray, Colin Childs and Joe Hart - all helped prepare the lunch alongside acclaimed chef Dean Gassabi from Maison Bleue and Home.

Biffy McKay, who was homeless for five years before joining Social Bite, said: “When you are homeless people don't look at you, they look through you. I didn't feel like person back then, I felt invisible.

“Now I have totally turned my life around and it has given me such a big confidence boost to cook lunch for Leo DiCaprio. I have loved him since I was little girl, it's a dream come true.”

Fellow employee Sonny Murray said: “Three years ago I was begging and used to come into Social Bite for free food.

“I had a baby daughter on the way at the time, and wanted to get a job. I didn't have many prospects at the time, I was in and out of prison and taking drugs. They took a chance on me and I grabbed it with both hands.

“I still have a full time job and to have just cooked lunch for one of the biggest movie stars on the planet is something I'll never forget.”

McKay and Murray’s colleague, Colin Childs, added: “To have the experience of cooking lunch for such a big star is class and something to add my CV!”

Last year George Clooney brought Edinburgh to a standstill when he visited Social Bite on Rose Street. He posed for photographs and launched the sandwich place's Christmas Appeal.



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