Matthew Algie donates 1,000 coffees to Pay It Forward scheme

April 25th, 2024 | Business News

One of the greatest things about coffee is its power to bring us together. Social Bite, a charity that supports people who are experiencing homelessness, knows this more than most – as they provide free hot meals and drinks for those experiencing homelessness and the social isolation that can come with it. That service can also lead to other support services that help people experiencing homelessness overcome address and overcome their challenges.

Matthew Algie has proudly donated over 1,000 coffees to the scheme to support the charity’s great work and encourage others to Pay It Forward. The coffees will be provided through the Pay It Forward scheme across Social Bite’s three Scottish locations, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, and will help hundreds of people connect over coffee.

The power of coffee

Euan Brock has been a support worker at Social Bite for three years. He has highlighted the ‘life-saving potential’ of conversation for some of the nation’s most vulnerable people ahead of this year’s Pay It Forward Day.

He explained how the number of people the organisation supports is rising, with more Scots facing challenging situations – from rough sleeping and living in temporary and emergency accommodation to facing the imminent threat of becoming homeless – as the impact of food poverty, housing emergencies in Scotland’s major cities, the cost-of-living crisis, and rising energy prices are felt.

He said: “The biggest challenge I see at the moment is a shortage of adequate housing across the whole of the UK. Toward the end of 2023, Edinburgh and Glasgow declared a housing emergency with more councils following this year. This means more people are finding themselves homeless and declaring it with councils, but there is a lack of permanent and temporary homes, as well as hotels/B&B and emergency accommodation leaving people with no option but to sleep rough or sofa surf with friends or family if they are able to.

Building relationships through coffee

“The Pay it Forward scheme can support someone by providing food and drinks, but it also allows us to build a trusting relationship with people accessing the service and then can go on to support them going forward.

“Conversation and inclusion is hugely important in society and a major part of Social Bite. Isolation and loneliness is a silent killer and research suggests it can be as damaging to someone’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Through Social Bite and Pay it Forward, we are able to welcome people with a smile, a hot meal, and a simple ‘How are you today?’ – it can make someone’s day who hasn’t spoken to anyone and been ignored on the street. A simple ‘How are you?’ can save lives.”

The Pay It Forward Scheme has proved a gateway to thousands of people accessing support with housing applications, benefits applications, and other support services they are entitled to, as well as referrals into Social Bite’s Jobs First programme. Others have entered volunteering programmes.

Coffee offers the possibility of connection

Mel Swan, Social Bite’s Commercial and Operations Director, said: “Pay It Forward is part of the fabric of Social Bite. Food and drink helps people at their most vulnerable and leads to other support towards a more stable position in life. It all starts by talking.

“Matthew Algie’s donation of 1,000 cups of coffee will help hundreds of people across Scotland in the coming weeks. Each one offers the possibility of connection and building a relationship that can help someone experiencing homelessness get the support they need.

“Paying it forward is a small act that can mean a lot and brighten someone’s day. It also plays a big part in our ultimate goal of ending homelessness.”

Paul Chadderton, Managing Director at Matthew Algie, said: “Social Bite tirelessly works to address one of Scotland’s most pressing issues, homelessness, and is one of our most important partners. This donation will help kick off conversations that can make a difference, as well as providing a moment of enjoyment at a difficult time for those the charity supports. More importantly, we wanted to highlight the importance of Paying It Forward to people across Scotland. A small gesture can make a huge difference to those who need it most.”

Find out more

People can pay it forward at every one of our Social Bite’s locations to help someone experiencing homelessness. You can also Pay It Forward online at

Established over 160 years ago, Matthew Algie has grown to support the hospitality industry by providing the tools, equipment, and training needed to open and run successful coffee shops. Our commitment to people and our community drives us to continue supporting Social Bite’s great work tackling homelessness.

Picture of Alastair Lindsay ( General Manager at Sauchiehall street Social Bite branch), Mel Swan (Commericial Manager at Social Bite), and Kevin McGeachan from Matthew Algie in front of the Glasgow Social Bite store Social Bite social worker, Euan Brock meeting with a service user for a coffee