Christmas is a busy time, and with December comes a to do list as long as your arm – most of it gifts and well wishes for loved ones.
But what if you could spread that festive cheer a little further than your nearest and dearest, all while picking up those Christmas essentials and perfect presents?
We’ve rounded up a few good cause businesses worthy of a visit this festive season – and the rest of the year round too – so you can do your bit for the less fortunate, help the environment and maybe clock up some karma points while you’re at it (not to mention a good meal or two).
The Edinburgh branches boast George Clooney as a patron, and Glasgow’s two Social Bite sandwich shops spread all-year-round good cheer. It’s a social business, with 100% of the profits given to good causes including Shelter Scotland and worldwide projects, and 1 in 4 of the staff made up of formerly homeless people. On top of that good cause glow, Michelin star chef Mike Mathieson cooks up a tasty menu of winter warmers, sandwiches and soups, ensuring you get a good feed while doing a good deed – a must for your mid-shop lunch break.
103 St Vincent St, G2 5EA and 5 Bothwell St, G2 6NL, social-bite.co.uk
This southside-based social enterprise is all about the local; produce sourced in and around the dear, green place, allowing shoppers to do their bit for the environment one organic sausage at a time. Locavore’s Christmas conifer rental means you can enjoy a real tree guilt-free, with delivery and collection arranged so that your tree gets a new lease of life at Neilston market garden once the festive season is over. Add in locally foraged wreaths and an ongoing crowdfunder campaign for a sustainable food supermarket (a bigger and better shop) and this is one stop to cross off on the pre-Christmas to do list.
66 Nithsdale Road, G41 2AN, glasgowlocavore.org
111 by Nico
Short of drawn out Masterchef sob stories, few people will stop and think about who’s cooking their food and where they’ve come from. But at 111 by Nico, those working in the kitchen are the centre of attention, starting with the slogan printed on the wall: “Forget their pasts, break their boundaries, let them realise what can be achieved and direct on the path to achieve it.” Chef patron Nico Simeone set out to create a restaurant and training academy for young people with a poor start in life. As for the food, it’s a menu of seasonal produce and contemporary cooking – ideal for the Glasgow foodie indulging over Christmas – but with added karma points.
111 Cleveden Road, G12 0JU, 111bynico.co.uk
Magpie’s Eye Gallery
Govan’s hidden gems The Magpie’s Eye Gallery and The Magpie’s Nest are run by Gavin Dunbar of Camera Obscura fame, in aid of Starter Packs Glasgow. The charity’s motto is ‘A hand up, not a hand out’ – and that goes for the customer too, because these are a far cry from overpriced charity shops, offering cheap as chips prices on a first come, first served basis – a good tip is to watch the Facebook page, but be warned that a swift dash south of the river may be needed to grab that bargain. Whether you’re shopping for the vintage lover in your life (Christian Dior jackets and stunning tea sets have been known to feature) or you’re in the market for a new old wardrobe (upcycled Iron Man units included, obviously) then this is the place for it.
47 Burleigh St, G51 3LB, facebook.com/The-Magpies-Eye-Gallery
Byres Road charity shops
Charity shops are always worth supporting, primarily for the cause – but let’s not forget that there are some hidden gems to be found in donated second hand goods too. And while every area in Glasgow has its fair share of good cause store fronts, there’s nothing like a wander along Byres Road for your Christmas shopping – all while lending a hand to those in need at home and overseas. Music lover to buy for? Oxfam Music is your port of call for rare vinyl and mint CDs. The charity’s bookshop is also a great shout, for fiction, factual tomes or your last minute Christmas cards. Add stores for the British Heart Foundation, Age Scotland, Save the Children and CHAS and we think your festive shopping might be wrapped up in a big bow of goodwill to all.
Main image: 111 by Nico
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Main image: 111 by Nico on Facebook