The Big Issue magazine branches out into selling coffee in London

Cup of coffee

A new coffee chain is launching where the drinks will be served by people who used to be homeless.

Backed by The Big Issue magazine, Change Please coffee will be available from carts across London.

Baristas will earn the London living wage, which currently stands at £9.40, and develop skills which will help them into mainstream employment after six months.

Approximately six staff will be serving at eight locations in the city.

Organisers plan to employ more people over the next month.

A cup of coffee will cost £2.50 and Change Please says beans are ethically-sourced.

"We promise one of the best cups of coffee you'll find, but even better, we guarantee that this programme will make a significant contribution to helping alleviate the homeless problem across the country," says Cemal Ezel, co-founder of Old Spike Roastery (OSR), which is partnering the scheme.

"If we can get a small proportion of coffee drinkers to simply change where they buy their coffee, we really could change the world."

At the moment the carts are in places such as Covent Garden, Borough and Waterloo.

If we can get a small proportion of coffee drinkers to simply change where they buy their coffee, we really could change the world
Cemal Ezel
Co-founder of Old Spike Roastery

Change Please says after six months it will help employees to find long-term work in the food and beverage, legal and banking sectors.

Peter Bird, the brother of John Bird who founded The Big Issue, says all types of homelessness are on the increase across the UK.

"Selling the Big Issue works well to provide people currently living on the streets with a way to help themselves work towards a better life, but there is a gap between that segment of homelessness and securing a regular job that needed a solution," he says.

"Change Please provides that and will hopefully be the hand up that people need to work their way back in to society."

Founded in 1991, The Big Issue offers a chance for people to "work themselves out of homelessness".

Vendors buy the magazine for £1.25 and sell it for £2.50, keeping the profits they make.

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