Diggers arrive at site of Social Bite homeless village in Edinburgh

1 December 2017, 13:16

Edinburgh

Diggers have moved into the site of a new homeless village in Edinburgh as construction work is stepped up.

The Social Bite project will consist of 10 two-bedroom homes, with the first residents due to move in by spring next year.

Builders said the arrival of the diggers marks a milestone in the construction after months of ground preparation and planning on a 1.5-acre site of vacant council land which has been given to Social Bite on a ''meanwhile use''.

The village will consist of transportable houses, being built off site, and a communal building where residents can eat together, socialise, work, learn and receive support.

Work so far has been funded by the 2016 CEO Sleep Out, where more than 300 of Scotland's most influential people slept rough to raise money for the project.

More than 7,000 people have already signed up for a second sleep-out this December, with £2 million raised so far.

Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn said: "The support of our building and land partners in the Social Bite village are making our dream a reality.

"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.

"Just think what the money raised by Sleep in the Park on December 9 is going to do. Over seven thousand people are signed up and we've raised over £2 million so far."

Residents of the village will be made up of those living in unsupported temporary accommodation, shelters, hostels and B&Bs, with a support team from Social Bite and Cyrenians on site to help them move towards permanent accommodation and employment.

Organisers say it aims to provide an alternative to a ''broken temporary accommodation system'' for those struggling with homelessness.