Social Bite gets initial green light for South Lanarkshire village project

Social Bite gets initial green light for South Lanarkshire village project

South Lanarkshire Council head of housing services, Sharon Egan, with Josh Littlejohn MBE, founder of Social Bite

South Lanarkshire Council has granted permission to homelessness charity Social Bite for the next of its proposed village projects in Rutherglen.

To be situated on a brownfield site on Harriet Street, the village will consist of 15 modern, sustainable modular homes, known as Nest houses, accompanied by a dynamic community hub. Tailored to meet the needs of its residents, Social Bite said the village provides a supportive environment, facilitating their journey out of homelessness through on-site support services and a range of skills and confidence-building activities.

In light of the escalating demand for temporary accommodation, and more than 39,000 applications for homelessness assistance in Scotland in 2022-2023, Social Bite is seeking to emulate the success of its existing village in Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Social Bite Village, opened in 2018, has already supported over 100 people in a situation of homelessness, many of whom have now moved on to permanent housing, showcasing the effectiveness of the model in tackling homelessness.

The charity and social enterprise will be entering into a community consultation stage and applying for planning permission following the decision by South Lanarkshire Council. A decision on the application is expected in Q3 2024, paving the way for construction of the homes and hub, beginning in autumn 2025.

The first residents are expected to move in during the summer of 2025.

Josh Littlejohn MBE, founder of Social Bite, emphasised the urgent need for innovative solutions in addressing homelessness.

He said: “It’s brilliant to get the go-ahead from South Lanarkshire Council on our proposal for the newest Social Bite Village to be located in Rutherglen. Our Social Bite Villages represent a pioneering approach to tackling homelessness in Scotland.

“By collaborating with the local community, South Lanarkshire Council, and our charity partners, this new village will establish a transformative model of accommodation that not only provides beautiful homes to live in, but also helps to break the cycle of homelessness for the individuals that will move in by giving people all the support they need.

“It’s important to us that the local community are part of this journey. As we begin to embed plans for this new village, we’ll look to start public consultation in the coming months. We’re working closely with South Lanarkshire Council to ensure the village is a positive asset to the local community.”

The proposed village includes 15 modern, sustainable modular ‘Nest Houses’ and a community hub surrounded by beautiful landscaping and an outdoor gym facility. The environment aims to create a vibrant community that fosters positive relationships, personal growth, and wellbeing through various activities and support services.

South Lanarkshire Council head of housing services, Sharon Egan, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Social Bite on this innovative project. The energy efficient modular housing, with housing support, will assist our customers who are faced with homelessness and the trauma that this brings.  

“This exciting partnership will bring training and employment opportunities to our customers, will invest in the local community and support community wealth.  This addition to our temporary accommodation comes at an integral point where South Lanarkshire are experiencing unprecedented levels of homeless.”

As well as the Social Bite Edinburgh Village, in 2023, the charity also announced its plans for a Recovery Village in Dundee to tackle rising drug and alcohol deaths in the city with development plans for this project ongoing.

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