Diggers move in as homeless village begins to take shape

Construction is being stepped up at the Social Bite development in Edinburgh.

Construction: Josh Littlejohn, right, says progress is 'incredible'.

Diggers have arrived at the site of a a new village for homeless people in Edinburgh as construction is stepped up.

The Social Bite village in Granton will provide eco-friendly accommodation for 20 people as they aim to reintegrate into society.

The project was funded by a charity sleepout last year involving Sir Chris Hoy and some of Scotland's wealthiest people.

It is hoped the first residents will be able to move in to the 1.5-acre site by spring 2018.

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Social Bite has organised another charity sleepout for December 9 this year, with a fundraising target of £4m.

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Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, said months of ground preparation and planning has allowed the next stage of building work to commence.

He said: "Seeing the diggers move on to site today is incredible and it won't be long before we're able to bring the houses on to site from where they're being constructed.

"Last December, 300 of Scotland's leading business people slept out to raise more than half a million pounds for the Social Bite Village.

"Between them they've made what we're seeing here a reality."

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He added: "Just think what the money raised by Sleep in the Park on December 9 is going to do.

"Over 7000 people are signed up and we've raised over £2m so far."

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Organisers say the village will provide an alternative for those struggling with homelessness.

The ten "Nesthouses" at the site each have two bedrooms and a wood-burning fire.

Those staying in the village will have access to a dedicated support team from the charity Cyrenians to help them find work and a permanent home.

A-list celebrities such as George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio have travelled to Scotland to visit Mr Littlejohn's Social Bite chain, which enables customers to pay for food and drinks for vulnerable people.

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