What if your morning coffee could change somebody’s life? Well, that’s the idea behind a partnership between The Big Issue and Old Spike Roastery to launch a new coffee brand: Change Please. Beginning Monday, you can buy hand-roasted, ethically-sourced coffee from coffee carts across London staffed by people who used to live on the streets.
The idea for the coffee carts was born when a member of the Change Please team spotted a member of the public crossing the street to avoid a Big Issue seller before heading into Starbucks. Now, the simple act of buying a cup of coffee will allow a homeless person to earn a living wage and –- crucially -– will get them off the streets. Change Please hires homeless people and trains them as baristas with the long-term goal of equipping them with the skills and experience required to enter the general workforce. Change Please baristas are paid the London minimum wage, £9.15 per hour.
Change Please founder Cemal Ezel IMAGE: CHANGE PLEASE
Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please, said: “There are so many homeless people in London that have a wide variety of skills, and we felt that we could enhance these skills, and help train them as baristas. Coffee is a natural medium to do that, as it’s part of people’s daily routine. If we can give people skills they don’t currently have, and provide them with employment, we can reduce homelessness one coffee at a time.”
Over the next month, Change Please coffee carts are being rolled out across London . Change Please is also hoping to launch in cities across the UK, with the aim to help as many people as possible through the initiative. The hand roasted, artisan coffee will be available to buy nationally across the UK online at changeplease.org.