Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

George Clooney visits cafe in Edinburgh to support homeless people

Media captionGeorge Clooney told reporters outside the Social Bite cafe that he was ready to get to work

Hollywood star George Clooney has visited a sandwich shop which helps homeless people during a visit to Edinburgh.

The actor visited the Social Bite cafe, which donates all its profits to homeless people, leaving $1000 (about £650) at the cafe for the cause.

He stayed at the cafe for around 15 minutes, and greeted the 200-strong crowd who were waiting outside.

Mr Clooney shook hands, posed for selfies and chatted with fans.

Image copyright Social Bite

He was later due to share lunch at a secret location with Heather McGowan, 32, from Glasgow, who won a competition to meet the star.

He will then speak to a 2000-strong audience at the Scottish Business Awards at the city's international conference centre.

Clooney was last known to have visited Scotland in 2005 when he presented Live 8 Edinburgh.

Image copyright Social Bite
Image caption George Clooney pays Ciara Whelan during his visit to the cafe
Image copyright Social Bite

Josh Littlejohn, founder of Social Bite and the Scottish Business Awards, said ahead of the visit: "The staff are unbelievably excited about George's visit. He's one of the most famous people on the planet and we are looking forward to introducing him to the Social Bite concept."

The cafe operates a "suspended" coffee and food programme where customers can pay for a hot drink or food for a homeless person.

Image copyright Social Bite
Image caption George Clooney met Social Bite owners Alice Thompson and Josh Littlejohn

Last month, it launched what is thought to be the first "selfless" loyalty card, which lets customers feed the homeless. It works by accruing loyalty points to enable the purchase of a free meal and hot drink for a homeless person by customers who have made 10 visits to the cafe.

A quarter of its workforce in the five Social Bite shops across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen is made up of formerly homeless people.

All proceeds from the business awards event, hosted by comedian Rob Brydon, will go towards a range of charities including the Social Bite Fund and Not On Our Watch - a humanitarian charity co-founded by Clooney with fellow actors Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and others.

Clooney also visited the Postcode Lottery on George Street, Edinburgh - which gave the Social Bite cafe funding - where he signed autographs and chatted to bystanders.

Cameron Ross, 24, from Edinburgh, persuaded the star to sign a card for his mother's 60th birthday.

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