Change please

| Helen Sharp

How would you like your coffee this morning? If you’re London based, why not buy from a Change Please barista. This social enterprise has demonstrated a radically different way of doing things. Now it’s beginning to scale up rapidly to take on the industry’s really big names.

Change Please was set up two years ago by Cemal Ezel. He worked in the City before becoming disillusioned with what he was doing. He pledged to create an ethical coffee company that would benefit not only the small-holder coffee bean farmers but also a growing population much closer to home. This is where the Hub’s interest lies.

Since 2010, the UK’s homelessness population has doubled. Meanwhile, the UK’s love of coffee continues to rise. Cemal has devised a way to link the two. The coffee beans arrive in the UK and people who have been sleeping on the streets roast them. They are also trained as baristas to work at the company’s 17 locations. Change Please pays the London Living Wage and provides help with opening bank accounts, housing, therapy and assistance with onward employment. All profits are put back into helping to reduce homelessness.

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.

Cemal Ezel

And while the larger coffee companies stumble over plans to reduce plastic waste, all of the cups used by Change Please are 100 per cent recyclable.

Cemal has set his sights on Change Please becoming the fourth largest coffee company in the UK. And with growing interest from big companies including Sainsburys and Transport for London, this doesn’t seem such an unreachable dream.

But it’s the employees that really drive the business. Interestingly, Change Please’s main problem is not lack of demand for its products but lack of capacity to help the rapidly increasing number of people sleeping rough in the UK. So make your coffee do good this morning and buy your skinny latte from your local Change Please barista.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Share this article:

Similar articles

by Mel Parks

Union Chapel: Collective Power Award

Union Chapel share their experiences of their community leaders project which was shortlisted for the Collective Power Award with the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance’s (CHWA) annual awards which focus on collective power (partnership and co-production), practitioner support and climate.

Read article
by Mel Parks

Yemeni Elders’ Heritage: Collective Power Award

This blog features National Museums Liverpool’s Connecting with Yemeni Elders’ Heritage project, which was inspired by a young man Abdul, from Liverpool’s Yemeni community, who wanted to support elders living with dementia through the House of Memories programme. Abdul connected and encouraged more than 40 Yemeni young people to support the development of a dual language (Arabic and English) heritage package within the My House of Memories app, to assist elders to capture and digitize their heritage stories and traditions to share with younger people.

Read article
by Mel Parks

Looking Back, Moving Forward: Stories From Covid Times

In autumn 2021, Dudley Council commissioned the Ideas Alliance to help them get a better understanding of how the pandemic had impacted on people’s lives, in order to inform priorities for the future. The brief included the use of storytelling and one requested outcome was a visual representation of the experiences of the people of Dudley. 

Read article