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Bank Boardroom set for Homeless Christmas Dinner

NatWest is joining forces with Social Bite to host a Christmas dinner for people who’ve experienced homelessness.

NatWest is joining forces with Social Bite to host a Christmas dinner for people who’ve experienced homelessness. The bank will be opening the boardroom at St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh and welcoming those Social Bite and the bank have supported this year.

 

It is part of the bank’s long-term support for the work Social Bite is doing to end homelessness. Since 2016 NatWest has supported Social Bite through donations, gifts-in-kind, and strategic help totalling over £1million. NatWest employees have raised more than £100,000 through sponsored sleepouts, abseils and Christmas appeals.

 

Taking place on 19 December 2023, those attending include residents and staff from Social Bite’s Village in Edinburgh, run in partnership with Cyrenians to provide a supported community which helps people affected by homelessness to lead an independent life. Social Bite plans to open two new Villages in South Lanarkshire and Dundee over the next two years.

 

This Christmas, the bank is also supporting Social Bite’s Festival of Kindness which will provide meals, gifts and essentials for people who are homeless at Christmas and throughout the winter, alongside homes and jobs.

 

Judith Cruickshank, Chair of the NatWest Scotland Board commented on the collaboration, stating:

“Building on our long-term support for Social Bite we are helping to make Christmas a little more enjoyable for some of the most vulnerable.”

 

Josh Littlejohn MBE, Co-Founder of Social Bite, said:

“We are so grateful for NatWest’s support. They have played a key part in a number of transformational projects helping people break the cycle of homelessness, and it is really special that they have created this Christmas experience for the residents of the Village.”

Notes to Editors

NatWest supports various charities and gives staff the opportunity to volunteer for good causes. In 2023 bank colleagues volunteered over 76,230 hours helping a range of initiatives including NatWest’s education programme MoneySense for Schools, Financial Foundations for Adults and helping rejuvenate local community spaces.

As part of NatWest’s ‘Do Good Feel Good’ programme the bank’s staff fundraised over £2.5 million for good causes and through Payroll Giving NatWest employees have donated a further £1.78 million to various charities this year.

Following the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria earlier this year, NatWest staff and customers donated over £3 million to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), including fund matching by the bank.

NatWest has Social Bite coffee shops within their offices at Gogarburn, Edinburgh and the Strand in London.

NatWest is also helping to end homelessness as a supporter of The Royal Foundation

Homewards Initiative.

 

About Social Bite

Social Bite started as a small sandwich shop on Rose Street in Edinburgh in August 2012 and has now grown to a major driving force in helping to break the cycle of homelessness in Scotland and across the UK. The charity employs people with a background of homelessness and has received visits from Hollywood superstars Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney. Social Bite is known for its innovative programs, including the Social Bite Village and Jobs First, which aim to provide housing and employment opportunities to people in need.

 

•         Social Bite provides free food daily from its coffee shops across the UK

•         Social Bite’s 2017 and 2018 Sleep in Park events in Scotland raised almost £8million and saw more than 18,000 people sleeping out.

•         With funds raised from Sleep in the Park events, The Social Bite Village was built in May 2018 and almost 100 people have since been housed in the bespoke accommodation.

•         The charity also launched Scotland's Housing First pathfinder program to bring 830 rough sleepers off the streets into their own accommodation with support. More than 1333 people have now been given homes with support, and the response has been adopted by all local authorities in Scotland.

•         In 2019, the charity’s co-founder Josh Littlejohn MBE created The World’s Big Sleepout, which was a global campaign to raise awareness of homelessness. The campaign saw 60,000 members of the public Sleepout in 52 cities all over the world.

•         Social Bite’s annual Festival of Kindness campaign, which began in 2020, aims to provide more than 300,000 gifts, meals and essential items across the UK to people who need it most over the winter months.

•         In 2021 the charity launched its nationwide Jobs First programme, with the aim of providing more than 60 meaningful job opportunities with wrap-around support to people who have experienced homelessness by working with various employers on securing a wide range of jobs, across three years. So far they have supported 48 people in a situation of homelessness into employment, working with over 10 employers across the UK.

•         Social Bite has just announced plans to build two more villages, one in Dundee named the Bill Sword Social Bite Recovery Village with thanks to the tremendous support from trustees of WM Sword Charitable Trust, and one in South Lanarkshire.

 

For further information contact

Andrew Neilson, NatWest, andrew.neilson@natwest.com

0777 197 3550

Community & Culture
Innovation & Partnerships
NatWest Group
Charity
Volunteering
Press Release
2023
Scotland
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