Since 2010 the number of homeless people in London has doubled. About 4000 people sleep rough every night. “ Change Please believes that the nation’s love of coffee is so strong - it could be just what we need to end homelessness once and for all”.
Change Please is a social enterprise helping the homeless, training them as baristas: the homeless sell ethically-sourced coffee from mobile carts in central London locations including Covent Garden and Waterloo. The project has spread to Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
It is a project of the entrepreneur Cemal Ezel, backed by The BIg Issue, the world's most widely circulated street newspaper sold by homeless people.
Change Please is a social enterprise, founded in 2015, where every profit is reinvested in the programme to train other baristas. The more coffee is sold, the more carts are bought and therefore the number of homeless that the social enterprise helps increases.
The social enterprise provides a stable work to the homeless, and a salary that is equal to the minimum wage of London of 9,15 pounds per hour. In the other cities of the UK the homeless are paid the minimum wage of 8.25 pounds per hour. Besides a stable job people living on the streets are also offered housing.
Peter Bird, national distribution director at Big Issue, said in an article quoted by The Telegraph: “Change Please is the fresh approach now required to help the homeless. Selling the Big Issue works well to provide people currently living on the streets with a way to help themselves work towards a better life, but there is a gap between that segment of homelessness and securing a regular job that needed a solution; Change Please provides that and will hopefully be the leg up that people need to work their way back into society.”
If we can get a small proportion of coffee drinkers to simply change where they buy their coffee, we really could change the world
“We guarantee that this programme will make a significant contribution to helping alleviate the homelessness problem across the country – if we can get a small proportion of coffee drinkers to simply change where they buy their coffee, we really could change the world. By providing both a job and housing we are immediately lifting people out of homelessness.”, Ezel told the Guardian.
All pictures are from Change Please's Facebook page.