Clapham Common station: Homeless-run Tube coffee kiosk opens

image source, Change Please
image captionChange Please has dozens of coffee kiosks across the country - but this is the first of its kind on the Tube network

The first coffee shop on the London Underground staffed by formerly homeless people has opened at Clapham Common Tube station.

Homeless men and women are offered training as a barista by charity Change Please and are then paid the London Living Wage.

Change Please founder Jamal Ezell, said "all profits" would go back into helping homelessness.

There are plans for more Tube kiosks to be opened as part of the scheme.

In addition to providing barista training, the charity supports its trainees with accommodation and help with their mental wellbeing.

image source, Change Please
image captionIn the last four years, Transport for London has seen a 20% increase in rough-sleeping on night buses

Mo Austins, 33, a former engineer from Egypt, is one of those who has benefited from the scheme after he became homeless when he moved to the UK.

He said: "I was sleeping on the buses with no career. Now, they train me as a barista so I am working with them full-time and my life has changed.

"I feel like I work with a family, people ask about me and talk to me. Before I was moving from place to place, now they give me a deposit for a new house.

"They do everything to help you in anyway they can."

Change Please has 32 sites across the country, mainly in London but also in Coventry, Cambridge and Manchester.

Mr Ezell said more and more homeless people are seeking refuge on public transport.

"What we try to do is bring people off the buses and into employment and back into society and to use these empty, disused, kiosks," he said.

"All profits go back into lifting people out of homelessness."

At the scene

BBC London's Greg McKenzie

It has been very busy here - a coffee a minute at this little kiosk inside Clapham Common station.

The coffee is usually sold in little vans outside stations, but with Transport for London's backing, this is the first of its kind inside a station on the Tube network.

All the cups are recyclable and 100% of the profits go back into helping people - customers are loving it.

People here are pleasantly surprised, and are really happy with the concept.

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