Coffee can do so much more than giving a morning pick-me-up – and Redemption Roasters is the latest to use the hot drink to brew up a hand up.
The Big Issue-backed Change Please has trained homeless people to become baristas and sell coffee from carts to give them the skills and cash to lift themselves out of poverty.
Now, a similar initiative has been launched to help young offenders successfully reintegrate into society with Redemption Roasters.
It is initiatives like this that can make a real difference with the wider benefits felt by society
The brainchild of entrepreneurs Max Dubiel and Ted Rosner, the social enterprise has opened a roastery and barista training at Aylesbury Prison for young offenders as well as operating in HMP Bullingdon and HMP Springhill. Redemption Roasters is also opening an academy in Wormwood Scrubs to close out 2018 and this year will be opening a café in Broadgate to add to the existing eateries in Bloomsbury, Farringdon and King’s Cross.
The prison roasteries offer a direct path from working inside to helping ex-offenders find work in the London coffee shops or elsewhere in the industry.
There are currently around 1,450 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.
Prisons Minister Rory Stewart MP said: “Redemption Roasters is a shining example of a social enterprise business helping young offenders sustain a crime free life by offering them employment and life skills training whilst serving their sentence and ultimately, helping them secure employment upon release. I fully support Ted and Max in their efforts, and it is initiatives like this that can make a real difference with the wider benefits felt by society.”
Next on the agenda is to move the operation into Scotland, where reoffending-slashing schemes like the Violence Reduction Unit have already had a big impact.
The social enterprise’s founders are looking to replicate Redemption Roasters’ Ministry of Justice relationship with the Scottish government. As it already working closely with the Ministry of Justice south of the Border, Redemption Roasters also aims to engage with the Scottish government about operating in Scottish prisons.
Ted and Max met at St Andrew’s University in Scotland and now wish to return to their roots to help young offenders near where it all began. Max said: “Just as our sourcing of coffee is ethical, we want to show that the whole roasting process can be socially responsible too.
“The work we do in prisons delivers real skills for those leaving the criminal justice system, helping to break the cycle of unemployment and re-offending.
“We’re now at the stage where we want to expand into Scotland, where this all started, and hope the Scottish government will follow the Ministry of Justice’s lead and engage with us. We are also seeking out Scottish companies to serve our coffee, with a unique story of social good behind every cup.”
Images: Redemption Roasters