Edinburgh restaurants join £1 homeless campaign

A campaign to help the homeless by encouraging diners to pay an extra pound on their restaurant bill during the festive season is underway.

A campaign to help the homeless by encouraging diners to pay an extra pound on their restaurant bill during the festive season is underway.

StreetSmart, a UK charity, is encouraging restaurants across Edinburgh to join the initiative which sees the money channelled to local causes working with the homeless.

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A total of 18 restaurants have signed up so far ranging from Michelin-starred The Kitchen and Café St Honoré to Leith Depot bar-restaurant in Leith Walk.

Local charities benefiting are Cyrenians, The Rock Trust and St Catherine’s Convent.

James Mackenzie, general manager of Café St Honoré in North West Thistle Street, said many diners wanted to donate more than the £1 suggested.
“If you speak to anyone who dines or works here you’ll find that they pass at least a couple of people sleeping rough in the city centre every day.

“People are going out and having a great time and getting together with their families but other folk are out there in the freezing cold.

Mr Mackenzie added: “It is surprising how many people want to add on more than just £1 to their bill. It’s good to think the money is going to directly help those that might be losing hope.”

Last year the campaign, which has run for the last 20 years, raised £9,000 locally. It also operates in the city during the Edinburgh Festival.

Around 500 restaurant in 22 cites across the UK are taking part in this year’s campaign.

Ewan Aitkin, chief executive of the Cyrenians, said: “Cyrenians are proud to be an Edinburgh partner for StreetSmart.

“We believe if people gather together and share good food then good things can happen. StreetSmart is evidence of that.

“Every £1 donated in November and December will go into our Good Food project including our Fareshare depot in Leith providing up to 9000 meals a week across south east Scotland.”

Also taking part are Café Modern One, Café Modern Two, Café Portrait, Castle Terrace Restaurant, Forth Floor at Harvey Nichols, Lioness of Leith, Odds & Ends, Ostara Café, Bon Papillon, La Garrigue, Timberyard, Wedgewood, Woodland Creatures, Bar Brig and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.