Homeless charity serves up 2,000 free meals in London as it celebrates first anniversary


The charity Social Bite is celebrating its first-year anniversary in London by reaching the incredible milestone of providing 2,000 free meals to the homeless community since launching in the capital just a year ago.

The Social Bite coffee shop opened its doors on The Strand, Westminster – the first outside of Scotland – in March 2022 and was the first social enterprise coffee shop in central London

Customers to the coffee shop can ‘Pay It Forward’ by purchasing a meal or a hot drink for a someone experiencing homelessness during their visit. So far, over £12,000 has been donated by customers through this initiative and this total marks the continued commitment and passion for positive change to end homelessness through pioneering programmes.

Providing a lifeline for many who are sleeping rough or experiencing homelessness, Social Bite works with London charity partners including The Connection and The Passage, to distribute these meals around the City of Westminster in the form of vouchers that can be redeemed directly from the Coffee Shop.

The charity has also provided employment and training opportunities to people experiencing homelessness in London as part of its Jobs First programme.

The initiative supports people who have experienced barriers to employment, including homelessness, with tailored wrap-around support to sustain employment and break the cycle of homelessness. Some of the UK’s biggest employers have signed up to the initiative, helping to break down the barriers to employment for those who have been homeless. So far, 9 individuals have been placed in roles through the programme in London – including Bola who works around 20 hours a week at the Social Bite coffee shop on the Strand.

Bola (61) had been homeless for about 2 months before hearing about Social Bite from another homelessness charity, and now enjoys working in the Social Bite coffee shop: “This really is a dream job for me that I have wanted for a really long time. I love serving and chatting to the customers. The training and support that I receive from Social Bite has not only helped me to learn new skills but has also given me more confidence both in work and in my day-to-day life. I am glad I have been given the opportunity where I can develop my skills further.”

Josh Littlejohn MBE, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Social Bite, said: “Launching our first coffee shop outside of Scotland was a huge landmark for us and to be able to operate a similar model to Scotland and grow our impact work throughout London too has been a vital part of this next step. From employing staff who come from a background of homelessness, to offering a daily free food service which is powered by our customers choosing to Pay it Forward in-store, our coffee shops are at the heart of our work. And today we want to thank our London customers who have chosen our Social Bite Coffee Shop and have contributed to the mission of ending homelessness.”

The launch of the coffee shop a year ago, came as a result of a long-term partnership between Coutts (and parent group, NatWest), hospitality provider BaxterStorey, and Social Bite. And to mark the charity’s milestone of providing 2,000 meals for people experiencing homelessness in the area, Social Bite will be offering a week long promotion of cake for just £1 with every coffee purchased from 15th -22nd March.

If you would like to support Social Bite there are many ways you can join the movement to end homelessness including visiting the Coffee Shop, choosing to ‘Pay It Forward’ , making a donation online, volunteering your time, or by establishing corporate partnerships. For more information on how you can help visit: https://social-bite.co.uk/get-involved