Life Changing Coffee

It may be bold to say a great cup of coffee changed your life, but it can change someone else’s for the better.

Coffee is the most popular drink worldwide with around two billion cups consumed every day. Many of us rely on it to get us through the day, I know I do! We understand that at Huddle, which is why we put time into ensuring our bean-to-cup coffee is of the highest quality for the private office, coworking and hot desk members in our Hammersmith home. One company that really stands out to us is Change Please, a social enterprise who, alongside roasting and selling really good coffee, support people out of homelessness. We caught up with Laurence Higgens, Director of Impact and Fundraising at Change Please. See what he had to say below…

I was so pleased to be invited to write an article for Huddle’s blog. I’ve been working with Change Please for 5 years now, which was just 3 months after we launched.

I’ve lived in London all my life and I remember in the early 90s, the rise of cardboard cities around the North London areas where we grew up and spent time – Finsbury Park, Camden Town and King’s Cross especially.

Back around 2013-4, I remember noticing the rise of permanent sites around North London and the rise in street homelessness. I was desperate to do something about it but wasn’t sure what. A couple of years later, I met the founder of Change Please – Cemal and was inspired by his story and idea about using coffee to create jobs and address the rise in homelessness.

I am inspired every day by the power of our intervention and the impact that it is on the lives of the people that we support. I love working at a purpose-driven and growing enterprise. See some alarming statistics below:

  • Only 2 percent of homeless people are in full time employment
  • 12 percent work part time
  • 57 percent have been unemployed for three years or more
  • With an employment rate of just 15 percent, homeless people are five times less likely than the wider population to be in employment, yet the vast majority of homeless people want to work either now (77%) or in the future (97%).

To help with this widespread issue, we provide barista training for people experiencing homelessness , and support them with housing, counselling, life-skills, additional training and then into onward employment with our partners and on the high street. 100% of the profit from our coffee goes into supporting our mission.

As one of our Trainees, says:

“There is such a stigma that people who are on benefits are scroungers, but it’s not true. People want to live, they want to work and they just need that break. They need someone to say I don’t care about your background or that you’ve been homeless, here is a chance. And that’s what Change Please have given me which just means the world.”

Beyond the creation of new jobs and enabling our people to work themselves into better situations, I love how our social and commercial models are so easily intertwined. The profits from our coffee outlets and wholesale coffee go back into our mission and bring more people into our mission.

I’m very pleased that in these difficult times, we’re able to gain new customers, expand our mission and launch new retail sites. You can also support us by purchasing our coffee online, enjoying in your office or from one of our retail outlets!

We’re delighted to be using Change Please coffee beans in our coffee machine at the coworking space on the 4th floor. Look out for the sign and give it a try!