Media Release: Pop-up restaurant backs rucksack and handbag appeal by homelessness charity


USUALLY, people don’t turn up to a restaurant for a good night out with the intention of deliberately leaving their coats behind.

Except that uber-cool Glasgow pop-up restaurant, Section 33, has been asking its customers to come armed with clothing and other items, to donate to a good cause.

Homelessness charity, Simon Community Scotland, has launched an appeal, urging members of the public to donate rucksacks and handbags stuffed with essential items for people who often have nothing but the clothes they stand in.

Things like sleeping bags, underwear, toiletries, sanitary products, warm clothing and food that can help people in need during winter and for Christmas.

The big donations day is December 4, where a team of volunteers will be poised to accept donations at a specially-provided warehouse in the south of the city.

And these same volunteers – along with staff and service users – are being treated by Section 33 to a free slap-up meal tonight [Tuesday].

Section 33 is arguably among the hippest restaurants in Glasgow. It has made its mark by creating pop-up restaurants in unusual locations, such as derelict buildings and disused churches. Diners are required to book a table long before they know where they are eating.

It is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team, Kyle and J’aime Steel.

Since Wednesday, Section 33 has been operating out of the Britannia Panopticon, recognised as the world’s oldest-surviving music hall. Some of the cash that has been generated is to be help towards the building’s restoration. By the time tomorrow night’s meal comes along, some 1,400 diners will have experienced this latest twist in the Section 33 story.

And the donations to the rucksack and handbag appeal are beginning to mount up.

Speaking about the appeal, Kyle said: “Well, firstly the name, Section 33, refers to a tenancy eviction notice, so you know where out heart lies.

“We set up the business two years ago. As my gran would say to me when I was working, opening restaurants for other people: It’s time you got a proper job, get a trade.

“So, Section 33 was set up partly to help people less fortunate, who might be really struggling.

“And the work of Simon Community Scotland is, frankly, breath-taking.

“This meal tomorrow night [Tuesday] we hope is the beginning of a long relationship with Simon Community Scotland. We’ve done food trucks before for homeless people, but this will be hopefully something a bit more magical for those who will be there.

“And yes, since Wednesday, lots of people have been bringing stuff for the appeal. We can’t thank them enough.”

Linda Branter, volunteering manager at Simon Community Scotland, added: The Simon Community Rucksack and Handbag Appeal is a great opportunity to raise awareness in the community and the kindness of Section 33 is allowing us the chance to do just that.

“We are so excited to have their support for the appeal and look forward to this being the beginnings of a lasting relationship.

“J’aime, Kyle and their team have a real will to help and make a difference which is just amazing.

“It’s a wonderful introduction for our first batch of newly-recruited volunteers and the people we support.

“We are super-keen to make volunteering accessible to lots of folk from all backgrounds and Section 33′ s involvement in our appeal is just the beginning of our exciting plans. So, if you fancy helping out, get in touch: we would love to hear from you.”

The donations day, on December 4, is taking place at 24 Rosyth Road, Shawfield, the space donated by Robert Morris, of Morris Furniture. Donations are being collected between 10am and 4pm.

There is an additional venue, near the Simon Community Scotland HQ and open between 12pm and 4pm: The Barn Youth Centre, 37 Abbotsford Place, Gorbals (the space donated by Crossroads Youth & Community Association).

Members of the public are being asked to bring rucksacks and handbags full of the likes of jumpers, sleeping bags, toiletries, books and, of course… coats.

For more information, visit and

Notes to editors:

Contact Linda Branter, volunteer manager, Simon Community Scotland, on 0141 418 6980. Or Kyle Steel, Section 33, on 07889 091008.

Simon Community Scotland, in figures:

We deliver around 170,000 hours of support every year and engage with up to 3,000 people at risk of or experiencing homelessness;

70 per cent of whom are male, aged mainly between 35 and 50 years-old;

Around 50 per cent of the people we support are able to move on ‘positively’ over the course of any three-month period;

We operate eight residential facilities; and

We actively engage to reach rough sleepers in Glasgow and our ‘street team’ see around 150 people on the streets every month, with up to 40 new cases each month.

Rough sleeping, in figures**:

Over half of all rough sleepers first slept on the streets before they were 21 and homeless people are nine times more likely to commit suicide;

People who are long-term rough sleeping have a life expectancy of 47. The average life expectancy of a women rough sleeping is 43;

Rough sleepers are 13 times more likely than the general public to experience violence, 47 times more likely to be the victim of theft and three times more likely to have been a victim of a road traffic accident;

One in ten rough sleepers are estimated to have been a victim of sexual violence within the previous 12 months; and

Many LGBT youth feel scared of accessing homelessness accommodation for fear of sexual attack and/or bullying.

** Sources: Homelessness: A silent killer (December 2011, Crisis), The unhealthy state of homelessness – health audit results 2014 (Homeless Link) and LGBT Youth 2016.


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Simon Community Scotland details…

Contact: Lorraine McGrath