The Robert Burns Humanitarians

Burns Humanitarian Awards

Since its formation in 2002, the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award has recognised the dedication, celebrated the selflessness and paid tribute to the sacrifice of each recipient of the award – all exceptional people with incredible stories to tell.

The 2020 winner of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award is Dr Josh Littlejohn MBE. Josh is the co-founder of Social Bite, a chain of sandwich - coffee shops which give 100 percent of their profits to good causes. Each year, the shops give more than one hundred and forty thousand items of free healthy food to vulnerable people.

Since 2015, Josh's Social Bite Fund has been helping to eradicate homelessness across Scotland and beyond. Promotion of the fund led to the 'CEO Sleep Out' in Edinburgh which in turn led to 'Sleep in the Park' with 8,000 people sleeping out to raise £4 million to help the homeless.

In December 2019 'The World's Big Sleep Out' took place with sixty thousand people participating in 50 cities across the world.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Josh also set up the Social Bite Academy. This gives homeless people the chance to get back on their feet through volunteering and work experience. He also founded Brewgooder, a craft beer that donates 100% of its profits to clean water projects.

Josh received an MBE in the 2016 New Year's Honours List for services to social enterprise and entrepreneurship and the following year he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Edinburgh University.

Josh is the latest in a long line of worthy Robert Burns Humanitarian Award winners:

  • 2020 – Dr Josh Littlejohn MBE
  • 2019 - Jasvinder Sanghera
  • 2018 - Anna Ferrer
  • 2017 - Marcelline Budza
  • 2016 - Dr David Nott
  • 2015 - Olivia Giles
  • 2014 - Blanche Nicolson
  • 2013 - Khalil Dale
  • 2012 - Karen Graham
  • 2011 - Linda Norgrove
  • 2010 - Habib Malik
  • 2009 - Guy Willoughby
  • 2008 - Jonathon Kaplan
  • 2007 - Abi Roche
  • 2006 - Marla Ruzicka
  • 2005 - Pius Ncube
  • 2004 - Clive Stafford Smith
  • 2003 - Yitzhak Frankenthal
  • 2002 - Sir John E Sulston

Read more about their stories.