A father-daughter duo is aiming to tackle homelessness in Cardiff by opening a coffee shop with a difference.
Jeff Smith and daughter Chloe were inspired to open their shop after volunteering at a local shelter.
“We volunteered at a homeless facility in Cardiff,” Jeff told The Big Issue. “Every night they serve food and hot drinks to people in need and we steadily added more things like a hairdresser, a greengrocer came along to supply fresh fruit and veg.
“Chloe and I did this for about two years but we came to the conclusion that we were feeding people, but we weren’t doing much more than that. We decided we wanted to try make more of a difference and reverse the process.”
Jeff’s eldest daughter Tiffany works at The House of St Barnabas in London, a private member’s club, whose integrated employment academy offers hospitality training to homeless participants before connecting the graduates with employment partners.
“I kept telling myself, somebody should do this in Cardiff.” Jeff said. “Eventually, I realised we were the somebody.”
The pair took inspiration from the club, but with little experience in running hospitality businesses, they opted for a more straightforward coffee shop in Cardiff instead.
Hoping to open its doors in March, bigmoose coffee co. will reinvest profits to provide training, mentoring and guidance to homeless people in conjunction with local street charity Llamau, which supports young people at risk of homelessness.
Eventually, it’s hoped that with the right training they will be staffed with a team of both homeless or ex-homeless baristas.
“We think everyone deserves a second chance.” Jeff said, “Even our chairs! They’re all recycled.”
The pair have a £20,000 goal on their Kickstarter page, with backers grabbing badges, beans and even the chance to have the café’s coffee machine named after them depending on their pledge.
At the time of publication, their funding sits at around £16,500 with the campaign set to end on Sunday February 11. The shop is set to open its doors on March 1.