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George Clooney's Edinburgh lunch date 'delighted'

Published 10/11/2015

George Clooney will visit Social Bite's Edinburgh shop this week to support its work helping the homeless
George Clooney will visit Social Bite's Edinburgh shop this week to support its work helping the homeless

A wedding planner has said she is "absolutely delighted" after winning a charity competition to have lunch with George Clooney when he visits Edinburgh later this week.

Heather McGowan, 32, will join the A-list star at an event being held at a secret location in the Scottish capital on Thursday.

Clooney is visiting the city after accepting an invitation from the owner of sandwich shop Social Bite, which helps the homeless by allowing customers to pay for food and drink on their behalf.

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

Josh Littlejohn is the co-founder of the social venture and approached Clooney earlier this year about visiting the not-for-profit chain.

The actor-director agreed and he is expected to meet employees at the Edinburgh shop on November 12 and deliver the keynote address at the Scottish Business Awards, also founded by the entrepreneur.

Ms McGowan, who runs a wedding events company in Glasgow, said she was shocked to discover she had won the competition organised by deals and events site itison to raise funds for Social Bite and the humanitarian charity co-founded by Clooney Not On Our Watch.

"I'm a big George Clooney fan and love the Oceans films so I'm absolutely delighted, and still a bit in shock, to have won itison's competition," she said.

"I'm looking forward to hearing about his involvement in Social Bite and the work of his charity, Not On Our Watch. And being in the wedding business, I'm also really interested to find out how involved he was in planning his wedding to Amal."

Last month, Social Bite launched what is thought to be the first ''selfless'' loyalty card which lets customers feed the homeless. It works by saving up loyalty points to buy a homeless person a free meal and hot drink after 10 visits to the cafe.

It previously gave out more traditional loyalty cards where after five visits customers would get a free coffee and after 10 a half-price lunch, but the company decided to reinvent the system when regulars started to refuse their rewards and ask for the food and drink to be donated to the homeless.

Social Bite gives 100% of profits to charities and currently has cafes in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. A quarter of its workforce at its five shops is formerly homeless.

Mr Littlejohn said: "It's incredibly exciting to be bringing one of the world's biggest stars to Edinburgh and the team at Social Bite is buzzing ahead of his visit.

"For many of our team who until recently lived on the streets, this is a really amazing thing to look forward to."

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