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Change Please UK

Change Please, UK

A London-based social enterprise trains and hires homeless people as baristas.

A London-based social enterprise trains and hires homeless people as baristas

"If we can just get a small proportion of coffee drinkers to simply change where they buy their coffee, we could really change the world". With this groundbreaking idea in mind, Cemal Ezel has created Change Please, an award-winning social enterprise that fights homelessness by training and hiring people living in the streets as baristas.

The social enterprise capitalises on Londoners’ love of coffee to create employment for those living on the streets, helping them get back on their feet and training them as baristas.

Working in partnership with local NGOs and city councils to identify people facing homelessness, Change Please's training academy offers personalised training paths to its beneficiaries. During the training, they gain practical experience and skills in food handling, coffee making, customer service and logistics. Additional support with accommodation, mental well-being, financial and legal advice is also offered to help its trainees.

After the training, Change Please helps its beneficiaries find a job. Some of them can work in one of Change Please’s owned businesses (coffee vans around the city and shops such as the Old Spike Roastery). Others are referred to Change Please’s commercial partners, among which figure some of UK’s most famous hospitality and catering industries and franchising shops.

By establishing strategic partnerships and working collaboratively with the public, corporate and voluntary sectors, Change Please ensures that people who are most in need transition into work smoothly and effectively, providing them with an important stepping-stone to long-term employment and reintegration into society.

"Without Change Please, I would still be struggling to find a job. By cutting out the red tape of interviews, they absolutely delivered on what they say they do – helping people!” says Kingsley, one of the trainees.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting closure of non-essential businesses presented unique challenges for Change Please. Despite this, the enterprise provided training or retraining for 17 people, resulting in 10 trainees securing employment.

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