Homelessness is feeding our obsession with coffee

It’s not often someone or something blows you away but at the recent Hospitality Insights Conference an introduction to Change Please! did just that. We were so impressed with their ethos and the fact they are doing something which has a positive impact on people’s lives, we want to endorse them. Please read on...

Change Please!

Change Please! is swapping homelessness with trained baristas serving award-winning coffee from their mobile coffee vans for hire.

Cemal Ezel is the founder of Change Please! which is a social enterprise started in 2014, and uses coffee as a way out of homelessness for many people. Change Please! trains homeless people to become professional baristas and from that provides them a London-living wage job, housing and bank account as well as therapy support to its beneficiaries. Using the Change Please! mobile coffee vans the trained baristas are helped back into work creating and selling their coffee to the hot drink-lovers.

All over the UK especially in the city of London, you will see a large percentage of people treating themselves to a takeaway coffee approximately twice a day so this social enterprise has created something that serves those people and at the same time creates hope for the homeless by allowing them to become fully trained baristas.

The organisation takes people who are ready to work and who are also engaged with additional support services. Change Please! therefore takes referrals from voluntary sectors such as The Big Issue, One Housing Group, CrisisUK, CentrePoint and Single Homeless Project. Each person has the luxury of being trained by fully qualified coffee industry experts who have extensive knowledge of all areas to run a business from customer service to quality control and management. This is such a great idea and already they have a turnover of nearly half a million.

Cemal Ezel

The founder and inspirational gentleman, Cemal Ezel, was voted Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 in November and as soon as he won the first prize of £10,000, he promptly agreed to share it with his whole cohort which is the spirit of social enterprise. The Social Entrepreneur of the Year is supported by the School for Social Entrepreneurs - a charity that supports people using entrepreneurial approaches to tackle complex social problems.

Currently the aim of Change Please! is to open the first #ChangePleaseCafe as a barista training facility and community hub in 2018. Helping those who are experiencing homelessness and to put a smile on their faces too.

Change Please! Mobile Coffee Vans

Hopefully more mobile coffee carts will be popping up all over the UK but until then you can find them serving coffee at events using their quirky little vans and award-winning coffee and in various locations around London including:

  • Borough Market - 8 Southwark Street, SE1
  • Canary Wharf - Reuters Plaza, E14
  • Christ Church Southwark - 27 Blackfriars Road, SE1
  • Here East - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20
  • The Shard - 32 London Bridge Street SE1