Good Coffee Doing Good

Towards the end of last year Change Please spoke at EP’s Hospitality Insights Conference and provided a great insights into how the social enterprise is helping those who are homeless.

The company was only created two years ago but is making great strides in reducing homelessness across the UK. The company has grown from one mobile coffee cart in Covent Garden to eight carts scattered across the capital city. A further seven have permanent locations. Those who shop in Sainbury’s may have also spotted their premium, specialty-graded coffee for sale.

Change Please, which is backed by The Big Issue, provides former homeless people with a home to rent and a full London living wage, whilst they are trained up as baristas to run the coffee carts.

Each barista spends six months on the cart, learning valuable vocational and social skills to help them re-enter society and move on to full time work.

Change Please has helped 35 formerly homeless people totally transform their lives with a full intervention that includes housing support, bank accounts, a living wage job, therapy and full emotional support. Once the training programme is complete, the employees return to into the mainstream world of work.

  • The number of ‘rough sleepers’ continues to increase with an estimated 16% rise in 2016 alone
  • The average age of death for men is just 47 years old – 43 if you’re a woman
  • One in ten of us will experience homelessness in some form during our lives
  • Each homeless person is estimated to cost the government £30,000 a year

Thomas Noble started working for Change Please in 2017 and has used the programme to help put to an end to sleeping rough:

“When I first heard about Change Please, I thought it was a fantastic idea because I know a lot of homeless people who need help. Now I’m in a position where I have some really valuable skills and the knowledge of an industry I have grown to love.”

He goes on to describe the work he’s done with Change Please as:

“A new chance at life, a family, friends and a job I love. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, I never thought I’d make it past 30. Now I’m 34, I have my own flat, and best of all I can have a chance to succeed and have a nice productive successful life with all the support anyone could ever ask for. Change Please means “LIFE” for me, I wouldn’t be here now without them, I know this for sure.”

Stats and Facts

  • Over £1m Estimated saving on government homeless costs
  • 35 – Number formerly homeless baristas employed
  • 15 – Location sites in London
  • 375 – Sainsbury’s stores selling Change Please
  • 16% – Increase in rough sleeping in 2016 alone
  • 1.15bn – Local authority spending on homelessness

Change Please is a fine example of ‘Social Good’ in the hospitality sector. In recent weeks EP has been showcasing a number of examples of businesses having positive and meaningful impact in the community and society.

The hope is that others can find out about these great examples and potentially think and act differently themselves. It is also strongly linked to EP’s #LetsMakeADifference campaign which looks to support individuals and companies who have become silos and need support with engaging with their local communities.

There are also several charity walks being organised for the year for those who want new experiences and to learn and discover from other people, cultures and industries.