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Norbord donates SterlingOSB for unique accommodation for homeless in Edinburgh from Social Bite

Norbord has donated 11 packs of SterlingOSB to help charity Social Bite to build NestHouses for homeless people in Edinburgh.

The material has been used by Invergordon-based off-site construction specialist, Carbon Dynamics, to construct 11 custom-built, relocatable NestHouses, which will each comprise two sleeping compartments with central bathroom, kitchen and dining rooms.

Designed by Jonathan Avery of Tiny House, Scotland, and built by Carbon Dynamics, they will provide homes for 22 people on a temporary site in Leith, donated by the City of Edinburgh Council.

The NestHouses are made from natural sustainable, healthy materials including the SterlingOSB3 supplied free of charge from Norbord’s Inverness plant.

“It’s not a massive amount of material, a few hundred sheets, but you can do an awful lot with those,” said Norbord’s commercial director Maurice Fitzgibbon.

“People who are on the streets are in a trap – if they don’t have an income, they can’t afford accommodation and they can’t get a job if they have no address.”

Social Bite is one of a new breed of ‘social businesses’, genuine trading entities that plough all of their profits into projects designed to benefit society. Describing itself as “a sandwich shop with a difference”, it was set up in 2012 by Edinburgh University graduates, Josh Littlejohn MBE and Alice Thompson, to raise money for Scotland’s homeless.

It does this partly by giving away 100% of its profits to selected charities, but it also works to provide employment for people and get them off the street and a quarter of its employees have struggled with homelessness.

“Norbord was attracted to the Social Bite Village initiative for a number of reasons, not least because providing accommodation in this way actually makes economic sense for the City of Edinburgh Council.  We also had the opportunity to support one of our most innovative customers, Carbon Dynamics, and BSW Timber Ltd, a major supplier of raw materials to Norbord’s two factories in Scotland,” said Fitzgibbon

Social Bite has five sandwich bars/coffee shops – two each in Glasgow and Edinburgh and one in Aberdeen – plus a restaurant in Edinburgh. Besides redistributing profits and providing employment, the business operates a ‘pay forward’ scheme whereby customers can pay in advance for a meal that can later be claimed by a homeless person. Its work has attracted the endorsement of several A-list celebrities and Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney make a point of dropping in for lunch whenever they are in town.

Fitzgibbon said “We all know Edinburgh is a wonderful city with an ambition to eradicate homelessness in the city and throughout Scotland.  The Social Bite Village has mobilised a huge number of individuals and companies who wish to contribute positively and proactively to a very worthwhile objective. Anyone associated with the Scottish construction industry should be proud to support the efforts of many dedicated organisations by providing a few building materials.  Norbord certainly is and looks forward to future Social Bite initiatives.”

PHOTO CAPTION – Left to right – Matt Stevenson, managing director of Carbon Dynamics; Maurice Fitzgibbon, commercial director, Norbord Europe; Josh Littlejohn, founder of Social Bite; and Tony Hackney, chief executive of BSW Timber Limited.

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