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Change Please Serves Hope To Homeless With Phenomenal Growth In Two Years

Change Please coffee, empowered by The Big Issue, will be available nationwide from September

Change Please Serves Hope To Homeless With Phenomenal Growth In Two Years

Almost two years since the unveiling of the first Change Please mobile coffee cart in November 2015, backed by The Big Issue, the social enterprise coffee specialist has taken another step forward in helping the homeless by launching its acclaimed coffee into Sainsbury’s stores nationwide. The premium, speciality-graded coffee will be available in over 375 stores from 18th September 2017 and will continue to provide income for the homeless throughout the country with all profits being used to reduce homelessness across the UK. 

The in-store launch follows the success of the mobile coffee carts that in under two years have grown from one cart in Covent Garden to eight carts scattered throughout the capital city, with a further seven permanent locations. 

The original concept was created and funded by FCB Inferno before partnering with The Big Issue and The Old Spike Roastery. In addition the PR and communications campaign to support both launch and current expansion has been managed by Mongoose on a pro-bono basis. 

Change Please, which is backed by The Big Issue, provides former homeless people with a home to rent and a full London living wage, whilst they are trained up as baristas to run the coffee carts. Each barista spends six months on the cart, learning valuable vocational and social skills to help them re- enter society and move on to full time work, with the assistance of numerous partners of the programme. Since the launch, Change Please has helped 35 formerly homeless people totally transform their lives with a full intervention that includes housing support, bank accounts, a living wage job, therapy and full emotional support. Once the training programme is complete, the employees return to into the mainstream world of work and all remaining revenues are put back into the project with the figure currently over £655,000. 

Expanding into Sainsbury stores nationwide, the coffee, which will carry its distinct characteristics, flavours and aromas, will include stories about the people it has helped on the packaging, making it a truly unique product. Thomas Noble, started working for Change Please in 2017 and has used the programme to help put to an end to sleeping rough. His story features on one of the new coffee bags: “When I first heard about Change Please, I thought it was a fantastic idea because I know a lot of homeless people who need help. Now I’m in a position where I have some really valuable skills and the knowledge of an industry I have grown to love.” He goes on to describe the work he’s done with Change Please as “a new chance at life, a family, friends and a job I love. I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, I never thought I’d make it past 30. Now I'm 34, I have my own flat, and best of all I can have a chance to succeed and have a nice productive successful life with all the support anyone could ever ask for. Change Please means "LIFE" for me, I wouldn't be here now without them, I know this for sure.” 

There will be three distinct flavours that have been hand selected by Change Please baristas. From Tom’s very own blend with tasting notes of dark chocolate and caramel balanced with hits of honeyed plum and maraschino cherry to Lucy’s milk chocolate blend with hints of buttery vanilla, hazelnut and caramel. These are complemented with an elegant Ethiopian single origin blend that boasts subtle floral notes, gentle citrus acidity and a crisp finish. 

Cemal Ezel, the founder of Change Please, described the announcement as, “A huge step forward to helping the current state of homelessness in the country. We have built this social enterprise on being a ‘pick me up, not a hand out’ for the people involved and it is their hard work that has got their lives moving in the right direction. Change Please aims to create a real win win situation; knowing that we’re continuing to feed the consumer demand for high quality coffee, but on a much wider scale now through the consumer product, we can make an even bigger impact on this country’s homelessness problem.” 

The number of ‘rough sleepers’ continues to increase with an estimated 16% rise in 2016 alone1 and the average age of death is just 47 years old - 43 if you're a woman1. Meanwhile, one in ten of us will experience homelessness in some form during our lives. Change Please tackles a new demographic of homelessness with coffee that provides so much more than a caffeine hit, offering a full ‘life intervention’ for people that were formerly homeless and are now ready to get back on their feet. The occupation and housing provided through the programme will also take away a vast expense to UK public service system as each homeless person is estimated to cost the government £30,000 a year. 

Change Please coffee, which continues to be supported by The Big Issue and funded by Comic Relief and Virgin Startup, will be sold at £4.50 per bag with a share of each bag going directly to the person featured on the packaging. All profits are then put back into the social enterprise to help more people get off the streets and back in to society. 

The Big Issue has backed Change Please since its launch in 2015 and through their social investment arm, Big Issue Invest, have provided further funding to support the production of the Sainsbury’s coffee. and offered additional support in the form of a mentor for the business from one of their partner investors, Barclays. 

The Big Issue’s National Distribution Director, Peter Bird, says: “Our partnership successfully harnessed the public’s appetite for upmarket takeaway coffee to inspire, support and further both our missions to dismantle poverty through the creation of opportunity for the most vulnerable in society. Change Please provides the hand up, not the hand out, that people need to work their way back in to society with the creation of regular jobs. With the coffee now available in Sainsbury’s nationwide, they will now be able to give even more people, including our vendors, a way out of poverty and onwards to a more positive life.” 

For those looking to get their coffee fix in other locations, Change Please coffee carts can be found in locations such as London Bridge, Canary Wharf, Borough Market and St Pauls with new sites in Loughborough Junction, Regents Place and Truman Brewery. You can also buy the coffee direct from the Change Please website