Our pro bono work with Social Bite dates back to 2014, when we assisted them in the conveyancing work for their second sandwich shop on Shandwick Place in Edinburgh. Since then we have worked closely with the Social Bite team on their Glasgow sandwich shop, Depot in Livingston and their restaurant in Edinburgh’s West End. So when they came to us with plans for the Social Bite Village in Granton Edinburgh, we were thrilled to be involved in such an important step for the social enterprise. We have enjoyed a fantastic relationship with them throughout these projects and the urban village officially launched in June 2018.
We are proud of our legal team, from a number of departments in the firm, who dedicated their time to the project, from the work required to progress the contract for the development of the site and the subsequent acquisition of the leasehold interest, to expert input on construction matters.
Eradicating homelessness in Scotland
The Village is just one of the steps Social Bite has taken to help eradicate homelessness in Scotland. An alternative to temporary accommodation for homeless people, it is a community supporting up to 20 people at any one time. The project also provides a support network to help people to live independently and access work.
When Social Bite put a call out for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) a team of people, including architects, engineers, academics and lawyers agreed to work behind the scenes for over a year to deliver it. Getting involved in the project was important to the firm, we believe in making a positive contribution to the community and in taking an ethical approach to law.
Our pro bono legal work
The official legal work for the Village started in May 2017 when a team of Partners and Solicitors from our commercial real estate, construction, corporate and social housing areas were put together. We helped Social Bite navigate the planning process to get the project off the ground and ongoing planning advice was essential due to the unique nature and build of the Village. There was plenty to consider, including leasing the land for the pod type accommodation, careful planning of the construction aspects, as well as bringing in the firm’s expertise on governance issues and liaising with Edinburgh Council to secure the land for the build and beyond.
Our Corporate Social Responsibility work was rewarding for our team of lawyers, who were enthusiastic in making a substantial commitment of their time to the village and were delighted to see the finished accommodation. Our staff will be supporting Social Bite this December to raise money for homelessness in Scotland by packing their sleeping bags to take part in Sleep in the Park.