Social Bite is aiming to raise £1m to help build two new “social villages” in Glasgow and London.
To raise funds it has launched a new fundraising campaign Break the Cycle – a 60 mile charity bike ride alongside Sir Chris Hoy.
The Break the Cycle event will take place on 5September, with Sir Chris joining 1,000 fellow cyclists as they set off from the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow and pedal the 60 miles through to the finish line in Edinburgh, near the flagship Social Bite village in Granton.
Each participant will be asked to raise £1,000 in order to take part and ride alongside the six-time Olympic Champion, contributing to the overall fundraising target. All entrants will also have access to some incredible prizes, from naming a house at one of the villages to winning a signed medal from Sir Chris Hoy himself.
Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “We’re incredibly passionate about our plans for the Social Bite villages. Since opening the first one in Edinburgh, 39 people have been helped with a home and support through the project. Now that we have seen that the model is working, our ambition is to build more in cities across the country and I’m thrilled to announce that this is our intention in London and Glasgow.
“The money we manage to raise from our Break the Cycle fundraising campaign will allow these plans to become a reality and enable us to develop communities that will have a transformative impact on people’s lives. We’re very grateful to all our supporters, including M&G plc who have already signed up as a major partner.”
As well as the physical event in September, the fundraising campaign is open to all levels of fitness and ability, with people across the UK invited to take part in their own virtual challenges from March to September to raise money and help Social Bite break the cycle of homelessness.
Friends, families, workplace teams and schools are all encouraged to pick a challenge and get sponsored for doing it. Whether it’s a 60-mile challenge or 60 minutes of exercise, the virtual challenge can be designed to fit what suits people best.
Money raised both on event day and in the lead up through virtual challenges will go towards creating the two highly supported communities with the pro bono help of engineering firm Arup.
The communities will offer a supportive community environment and opportunities to help people affected by homelessness build an independent life. The goal of the Social Bite Villages is to provide a different blueprint for how we, as a society, respond to homelessness and temporary accommodation - one which puts support and the individual at the centre of the approach. The village concept is supported by Dame Louise Casey, the former Westminster homelessness tsar who led the work with helping 33,000 people into emergency housing during the pandemic.
Since launching in May 2018, the Social Bite Village in partnership with Cyrenians has provided accommodation and support to 39 residents, helping them find their feet and permanent homes. 82% of people who have lived at the Village are either still happily housed there or have moved onto a positive destination.
10% of funds raised from the event will also be donated to SAMH, the Scottish Association for Mental Health and further funds will be invested in Social Bite’s mission to Break the Cycle of homelessness by providing food, employment opportunities, and housing projects.
Sir Chris Hoy said: “I have supported Social Bite by sleeping under the stars each year at their mass participation sleepout events for the last four years. I have seen the impact of the funds raised and I am passionate about supporting the bold approach to breaking the cycle of homelessness.
“I know times have been incredibly tough of late but I’d encourage everyone to get involved and help raise the funds needed for this extraordinary project and take on their own challenges over the coming weeks and months. I look forward to see those taking part at the starting line."