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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Craig Meighan

Regulator launches investigation into acclaimed Scottish homelessness charity

Josh Littlejohn at the launch of Social Bite's first coffee shop in England on The Strand in central London

AN internationally lauded charity is being investigated by a Scottish watchdog amid concerns reportedly raised by a former senior member of staff.

Social Bite has won praise from famous figures such as George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio.

The leading homelessness charity has previously been backed by the Scottish Government, with its Housing First initiative receiving a £6.5 million investment.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has confirmed a probe is under way after receiving complaints about the organisation.

The Times reported that it is understood concerns were raised about the charity’s founder, Josh Littlejohn, who was made an MBE back in 2016.

The report alleged Social Bite’s former chief executive officer for Scotland Jane Bruce lodged the complaint to OSCR.

A spokesperson for the OSCR said: “We have received concerns about this charity, which are currently being examined in the usual way, according to our published policies.”

Andrew Cubie, Social Bite’s chair, said: ”We can confirm that we are in communication with OSCR relating to concerns they have received. In line with OSCR’s policy we are unable to provide any further information at this time.

“Under my chairmanship, Social Bite adheres to the highest levels of governance. In spite of the global pandemic, the charity has gone from strength to strength.”

Recent years have seen several senior members of staff at Social Bite leave, with five trustees resigning over a four-day period in May last year.

Having been CEO, Littlejohn is now one of three executive directors at the organisation.

And in February, he stepped down as a director of two Social Bite subsidiaries: Social Bite Limited and Social Bite Restaurants Limited.

He said he was “very lucky” to be amongst a “brilliant team” at the firm.

He said: “As the charity has matured, it is only right that it becomes less reliant on its founder. For the last few years I’ve been working with our board to put in place a new structure which allows me to focus on my passion for developing new and innovative projects to help homeless people.

“It is a privilege to do what I do and, with the support of our chair, trustees and the dedication of our team, we remain focused on our goal of ending homelessness at a time when help is needed more than ever.”

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