Change Please – Here East

These little coffee carts are popping up all over London, serving award-winning coffee and staffed by the homeless to help the homeless

This social enterprise is tapping into London’s obssession with its morning caffeine hit to help cure the city’s homelessness epidemic… it’s a bit like the Big Issue reinvented for the coffee generation.

Change Please carts are popping-up in some of London’s busiest worker hotspots – Canary Wharf, The Shard, Borough Market, Christ Church Southwark, Here East – selling their award-winning coffee blend. It’s a fast growing social enterprise, so check back here for new locations… there are also grand plans to open up a full-blown cafe.


The Impact

Homelessness is arguably London’s biggest and most devastating social problem. Since 2010, it’s doubled and over 4,000 people sleep rough every night… and those figures don’t take into account the thousands of people living in temporary and insecure accommodation and those sofa surfing with friends and family.

Change Please’s vision is to break the cycle of homelessness by training and employing homeless people as baristas – helping them acquire in-demand skills leading to well-paid work. The social enterprise provides full barista training, jobs paying London Living Wage and support with housing, bank accounts and mental wellbeing. Trainees are supported and mentored day-to-day by fully qualified coffee pros in everything from customer service to quality control and management.

Referrals for the training programme come from Voluntary Sector partners including – Crisis, The Big Issue, One Housing Group, Single Homeless Project and CentrePoint. This ensures they only take people who are as ready to work as possible and are engaged with additional support services.


Here’s what they said

“What if your morning coffee could change lives?

The average Londoner treats themselves to two cups every single day. Demand is rising – by the end of the decade the number of UK coffee outlets is set to hit 21,000, creating over 100,000 jobs. Despite this, the industry is facing a huge skills shortage, not just in the UK, but around the world. If the homeless community addressed this shortage – homelessness could become a thing of the past.

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

Great coffee