Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy has been sleeping rough in a bid to raise funds for a new village for the homeless in Scotland.

The 40-year-old sportsman joined 300 influential people who spent the night on the streets in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square in support of charity Social Bite.

According to Sky News, the charity needs to raise £500k for the project to construct 10 purpose-built homes in Edinburgh which will provide low-cost, supervised and safe living environment for up to 20 homeless people.

Explaining why he got involved in the initiative, Sir Chris said: "It's just such a fantastic cause and to see the impact that it is having, it is such a simple thing to do from my perspective.

"It's such a great cause and ambition to create this village and if we can raise enough funds tonight and raise enough awareness we are doing something special. It's great to be on board and it's not as cold as I thought it was going to be."

Participants began arriving at the square around 7pm where they stayed until 7am on Friday (16 December) when they were served breakfast by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon The Scotsman reports.

Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn said the fundraisers who volunteered to sleep rough for the night experienced the reality of homelessness.

"We have actually managed to get 300 top people sleeping out for us tonight to raise money for a project to build a village for homeless people in Edinburgh to really break that cycle of homelessness.

"Sir Chris Hoy said he would come and do it very early doors so as soon as he said yes I knew we would hopefully get lots more and now we're up to 300 so it's really phenomenal. It will definitely be an eye opener for these people to sleep out for one night and do in Scotland what an average 600 people do every single night sleeping rough.

"I think it will be educational but the main thing is that we're going to raise a lot of money to create a real long term solution to this issue of homelessness."

Social Bite most recently won the support of Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio who dropped in on an Edinburgh café to raise awareness of homelessness in the Scottish capital.

The 42-year-old actor had a spot of lunch at Home – a restaurant with a social purpose where a quarter of its staff are formerly homeless.