Charity Social Bite’s Festival of Kindness has launched in Edinburgh and in four other UK cities, expanding on last year’s campaign, in a bid to spread some much-needed festive goodwill and kindness.

The charity is asking people in Edinburgh, London, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee to donate meals, gifts, essential items and accommodation to those who need it most this Christmas.

Throughout the campaign, Social Bite has set a target of providing 300,000 meals and essential items of the winter months to those experiencing homelessness this festive period.

Working alongside local partners, Social Bite has installed five 28ft tall Christmas trees across the country and is asking people to buy one extra gift, drop it under the tree and contribute to a movement of kindness. Festival of Kindness locations include:

·       St Andrew Square, Edinburgh

·       Charing Cross Station, London

·       Vinicombe Street, Glasgow

·       Outside M&S at the Bon Accord centre, Aberdeen

·       City Square, Dundee

The charity has created a gift wish list of the things homeless and vulnerable people need the most – from a warm pair of gloves, a hot water bottle and a torch, to good quality socks and toys for children  living in temporary accommodation to open on Christmas morning. 

Passers-by can drop their gifts at the trees and take in the Christmas lights, meet Santa in Edinburgh and hear more about Social Bite’s ambitions from volunteers. All gifts will then be distributed by Social Bite’s dedicated team to those who need it most, just in time for Christmas.

Josh Littlejohn, MBE, co-founder Social Bite PHOTO Ian Georgeson

Social Bite co-founder and Executive Director, Josh Littlejohn, MBE, said: “This Christmas, many of us will be able to reunite with family and friends to celebrate after so many restrictions. But for homeless people and families, the pandemic has made their situation particularly desperate. Thousands of people all over the UK will spend Christmas on the streets – cold, hungry and lonely, without a family to go to. Thousands of children will find themselves in temporary emergency accommodation or without food on the table over the festive period. 

 “That’s why we are building on the success of last year’s campaign to expand our reach even further, going from two to five locations and taking Festival of Kindness to London for the very first time.

 “Our Festival of Kindness campaign aims to spread some festive cheer. In a world, where you can be anything, we’re urging people to be kind and buy or donate a little extra to help those who need it most – even the smallest of gifts will make a huge difference.”

Monetary donations can also be made online via the Social Bite website which will then go towards the provision of food, gifts and essential items. Donations will also help fund accommodation and support for those sleeping rough in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and London.

Social Bite has a track record of successful fundraising campaigns, having previously hosted ‘Sleep Out’ events in all major Scottish cities, then helped to launch The World’s Big Sleep Out for a global campaign attended by Hollywood A-listers including Dame Helen Mirren and Will Smith in 2019. Last year’s Festival of Kindness held in Edinburgh and Glasgow raised over £1.5m.

All gifts should be new and unwrapped, with a helpful ‘how-to’ guide on their website. 

To find out more or donate, please visit https://festive.social-bite.co.uk/

Photo Ian Georgeson