Cycling legend Hoy gets on his bike to help fund Social Bite homeless villages

Laura Paterson, PA Scotland
·3-min read

Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy has teamed with up with charity Social Bite on a £1m fundraising campaign aiming to build new villages for homeless people in Glasgow and London.

The record-breaking, six-time, Olympic gold medal cyclist will take part in the Break the Cycle campaign – a 60-mile charity bike ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

Those signing up to ride alongside Sir Chris will be asked to raise £1,000 to enter and will be in with a chance of winning prizes from a medal signed by the Olympian to naming a house at one of the villages.

The Break the Cycle ride takes place on Sunday September 5 with Sir Chris and the pack setting off from his namesake velodrome in Glasgow to head to the finish line near the flagship Social Bite village in Granton, Edinburgh.

Since launching in May 2018, Social Bite’s Edinburgh Village, run with the Cyrenians, has provided accommodation and support to 39 people: 82% of whom either still live there or have moved on to a positive destination.

Social Bite Village
A view of the inside one of the homes at the Social Bite village in Granton (Jeff Holmes/PA)

As well as the event on September 5, people from across the UK are invited to take part in the campaign through their own virtual challenges from March to September.

Sir Chris said: “I have supported Social Bite by sleeping under the stars each year at their mass participation sleepout events for the last four years.

“I have seen the impact of the funds raised and I am passionate about supporting the bold approach to breaking the cycle of homelessness.

Sir Chris Hoy and Josh Littlejohn
Social Bite handout photo of Sir Chris Hoy and Josh Littlejohn taking part in the first Social Bite CEO Sleepout (Stewart Attwood/Social Bite/PA)

“I know times have been incredibly tough of late but I’d encourage everyone to get involved and help raise the funds needed for this extraordinary project and take on their own challenges over the coming weeks and months

“I look forward to see those taking part at the starting line.”

Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn said: “It’s an honour for us to have one of the country’s biggest sporting heroes support us in our effort to build two new villages for people in a situation of homelessness.

“Sir Chris has been an advocate of the work we do for some time and when we came up with the Break the Cycle concept, we knew there was only one person we wanted to partner with.

Social Bite Village
Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite co-founder at the charity’s housing project in Granton, Edinburgh (Jeff Holmes/PA)

“We’re incredibly passionate about our plans for the Social Bite villages. Since opening the first one in Edinburgh, 39 people have been helped with a home and support through the project.

“Now that we have seen that the model is working, our ambition is to build more in cities across the country and I’m thrilled to announce that this is our intention in London and Glasgow.

“The money we manage to raise from our Break the Cycle fundraising campaign will allow these plans to become a reality and enable us to develop communities that will have a transformative impact on people’s lives.”

The charity said 10% of campaign funds will go to SAMH, the Scottish Association for Mental Health.