Watch: how The Big Issue is using our caffeine obsession to tackle homelessness

New coffee brand 'Change Please' is hoping to get 200 people a year off the streets and into housing and employment by training formerly homeless people as baristas.

The social enterprise, which is the result of a partnership between The Big Issue, FCB Inferno and Old Spike Roastery, supports homeless men and women into temporary accommodation while training them to become Baristas. They receive training on the job, selling premium coffee from state of the art Change Please coffee vans. 

Once qualified, Baristas will earn the London living wage while continuing to hone their skills. The ultimate aim is for the Baristas to enter mainstream employment and secure long-term accommodation after 6 months.

All profits will then be re-invested to train a new cycle of baristas. 

Cemal Ezel, co-founder of Old Spike Roastery, explained that they are aiming to build brand loyalty and longevity by ensuring that customers keep coming back for the high quality of the coffee.

 "We purchase speciality coffee beans, sourced from around the world to make sure people are purchasing the product because of the quality, and not because of the social element." 

Liam Mulligan, a Change Please Barista, says that the enterprise is helping him to secure long-term accommodation. "Now that I’m in full time employment, I’m getting some money in my pocket, so I don’t have to worry about basic problems like food, water, clothing...It’s a shining star to me and it’s really helping me out." 

There are currently six people in the Change Please team, with plans to grow over the next month as the branded coffee vans take up residency in more locations across London. 

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