An excellent new brand called Change Please is based on the same principle as The Big Issue: tackling homelessness through the power of a popular product sold on the streets, allowing homeless people to earn a legitimate income.
The venture – a partnership between the Old Spike Roastery and The Big Issue – has seen a group of homeless people trained as baristas so they can sell fresh coffee from mobile carts on the high street and is being launched at eight locations in central London.
Pascal, 44, is one of seven new baristas in the capital. He has been homeless for a long time.
“It’s a great opportunity – really beautiful,” he says. “I was really happy to get involved in the training and give it a go. It hasn’t taken too long to pick up the machinery and all the blends. I’m looking forward to serving this coffee to the public now. I’m a coffee drinker myself, and I know how good it tastes. I just hope the customers are as excited about it as we are.”
Change Please coffee beans will also be available to customers online – the pop-up carts can expand to other cities and provide work for 20 to 30 new trainees a year. Several big companies are keen to provide job opportunities when the current recruits have completed six months’ training.