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 latest statistics show that homelessness has almost doubled in the UK since 2010, with over 4,700 people sleeping rough every night across England in 2017. At the same time, in the frenetic life of the British capital the average Londoner has two cups of coffee a day. Change Please is leveraging the high demand for coffee to create job opportunities for homeless people.
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 wellbeing, and 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.
Through our three-year partnership, we aim to scale up Change Please’s visionary model of economic inclusion for homeless people and lay the ground for the sustainability of its training academy. By 2021, the social enterprise expects to lift 461 people out of homelessness through skills training and job placement.
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