Work begins on new 1.5-acre village for homeless people
The Social Bite Village in Edinburgh will welcome its first residents before Christmas.
Work has begun on a new village for homeless people in Edinburgh after some of Scotland's wealthiest people slept outside to raise funds for the project.
Social Bite, a social enterprise which runs a chain of sandwich shops, will set up the village in partnership with the charity Cyrenians.
A 1.5-acre site in Granton has been dedicated to the scheme, which aims to have its first residents in place before Christmas.
Some 20 people will be housed in ten eco-friendly homes for around a year at a time as they aim to reintegrate into society.
A-list celebrities such as George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio have travelled to Scotland to visit Josh Littlejohn's Social Bite chain, which enables customers to pay for food and drinks for vulnerable people.
In December, cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy was among 300 influential people who slept outside in the centre of Edinburgh to raise £500,000 towards the new village.
Following the event the group were served breakfast by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The first home will be available for the public to view in St Andrews Square for the duration of the Edinburgh Festival in August before it is installed.
Mr Littlejohn said: "We're so pleased that the Social Bite village will be up-and-running this year and we're edging closer and closer to creating what we believe can be an effective alternative to a broken temporary accommodation system for people struggling with homelessness.
"Only seven months ago we experienced an incredible night with some of the country's most successful and influential people taking part in our CEO Sleep Out to raise the money that would turn this from a nice idea into a reality and make a real impact to people who need our help.
"Now we're about to break ground on the site and the first house will be displayed in St Andrews Square throughout August for anyone to come and see."
He added: "The end result will be an inclusive, compassionate community that will provide a vital support network to people who are ready to be helped back into society.
"The village is only a small part of a much bigger answer required to end homelessness but it could be a blueprint for how social enterprise, charity, council and corporates work together on a solution that makes a difference."