Big Issue Vendor

Big Issue-backed Change Please is heading to the skies with Virgin Atlantic

The social enterprise is in supermarkets and on the tube, now they’ll be on planes with proceeds going towards helping homeless people into employment

Change Please’s rise has been rapid and it appears that even the sky might not be the limit as the social enterprise have now teamed up with Virgin Atlantic to sell their award-winning coffee on flights.

Cemal Ezel’s social enterprise hit London’s streets in November 2015, hiring homeless people as baristas to sell coffee and work their way out of poverty with the early backing of our social investment arm Big Issue Invest.

Since then, their coffee has found its way into Sainsbury’s supermarkets and on to the tube at Clapham Common station.

Change Please’s latest move will see the introduction of a bespoke blend of their coffee on all Virgin Atlantic flights from this autumn with beans specially brewed to meet changing flavour profiles at altitude.

The locally sourced coffee will also be available in Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses, and all Upper Class, Premium and Economy cabins worldwide with the proceeds pouring back into Change Please’s education programmes and barista training.

“Homelessness is at a record high and we all want to help but don’t know where to begin,” said Change Please founder Ezel. “I can’t think of a more suitable collaboration than with Virgin Atlantic, working together to serve the best coffee available in the skies. Passengers can enjoy award winning coffee on board safe in the knowledge they are making a difference to the lives of homeless people across the UK – and soon in New York, LA and San Francisco.”


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Virgin also provided support to Ezel when he founded Change Please in 2015 through their Virgin Start Up loan programme.

“Working with Change Please means we can take coffee culture to new heights, providing all of our customers with the best coffee in the sky,” said Daniel Kerzner, Virgin Atlantic’s vice-president for customer experience. “This unique partnership allows us to further enhance our customer experience, whilst positively impacting the lives of our local communities. It’s win-win and our customers are going to love it.”

Image: Virgin Atlantic