Edinburgh Restaurant To Help Homeless

22 September 2016, 14:03 | Updated: 22 September 2016, 14:06

Homeless Person

A restaurant which supports homeless people and is to give 100% of its profits to charity is to open in Edinburgh this weekend.

The restaurant called Home is the brainchild of social entrepreneur Josh Littlejohn, who set up the Social Bite chain of sandwich shops, and Dean Gassabi, who owns the Maison Bleue group of restaurants.

Home will provide training and employment programmes for members of the Social Bite Academy, a four-year paid course for homeless people aimed at breaking the cycle of homelessness by providing support ranging from social integration, housing help, skills training and work experience, with each student gaining paid employment in Social Bite or a commercial partner.

Located on Queensferry Street in the capital's west end, the not-for-profit venture opens to the public on Saturday, with a menu of French and Scottish cuisine.

Diners will be encouraged to "pay forward'' meals for the homeless, who can attend a special service for those sleeping rough every Monday between 3pm and 5pm.

Mr Gassabi said: "I had already secured these premises for a new Maison Bleue restaurant when Josh came to me with the proposal for Home and it was such a fantastic idea we agreed to go ahead immediately.

"This venture with Social Bite is a fantastic way for us to put something back, including helping the homeless community.''

Half of the profits will go directly to Social Bite and the other 50% will support other charities and good causes.

Mr Littlejohn said: "Home is a unique place and we're incredibly excited to be opening up the doors this weekend.

"It's a place where you can get a first-rate meal at the same time as helping some of the most vulnerable people in society.

"It's a natural evolution of what we've been doing at Social Bite and I hope people support it in the same way.''

Social Bite - which has cafes in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen - was in the spotlight last November when Hollywood star George Clooney paid a visit to the Edinburgh Rose Street branch to launch an appeal to help the homeless and fund an aid convoy to refugee camps across Europe.

In June, the Duchess of Cornwall visited the shop and staff are also expected to welcome Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio later this year.