Advertorial from Nespresso for Change Please

Coffee that fights homelessness: Nespresso’s new £1m partnership with social enterprise Change Please

Since launching in 2015, Change Please coffee has supported thousands of people experiencing homelessness. This number is set to increase, thanks to a new £1 million partnership with Nespresso.

Three Change Please baristas promoting their Nespresso partnership

Skilled baristas Rob, Tiegan and Michelle are among Change Please Training Academy’s alumni. Photo: Change Please

Advertorial from Nespresso for Change Please

It’s been almost a decade since Change Please coffee began their mission to use coffee to offer people a path out of homelessness. The idea is simple – and effective. Train people experiencing homelessness to become baristas and support them with everything they need to turn their lives around – a living wage job, access to housing and vital services, therapy, a bank account, onward employment. Back in 2015, the team started with a single cart in Covent Garden but, with early backing from Big Issue, the social enterprise grew and grew. 

Soon after that, they opened the Change Please training academy in Peckham. Today, they have 10 coffee bars across London. In 2023 only, they supported 1,550 people experiencing homelessness and numbers are growing this year. They have ambitious plans to expand to more cities in the UK and Ireland.

This week, they are taking another huge step forward with a brand-new £1 million partnership with Nespresso. From June 28, Nespresso’s customers will be able to support Change Please to fight homelessness every day with their morning coffee, simply by choosing the new Nespresso for Change Please blend – available for Original, Vertuo and Nespresso Professional systems.

The coffee is “delicious” Change Please founder Cemal Ezel confirms, “But this partnership goes beyond simply selling great coffee, it is about using the power of business to drive social change and improve the lives of those most in need in the UK and Ireland.”

Nespresso for Change Please coffee, in a "Change is Brewing" cup
Nespresso for Change Please coffees and accessories are available from 28 June

The issue of homelessness is urgent in the UK. Due to the cost of living and housing crises, many more people are struggling. The latest government figures for England showed 112,660 households were homeless and living in temporary accommodation at the end of 2023 – a record high figure and up 12% in a year.

An estimated 3,898 people were counted as sleeping rough across England on a single night in autumn 2023. That latest official rough sleeping snapshot was up more than a quarter on the 3,069 people counted in 2022 and is more than double the 1,768 people on the streets in 2010. 

According to the Museum of Homelessness charity, 1,313 people across the UK died while homeless in 2022 – an 85% increase since 2019.

“Our aim is to change the stigma around homelessness,” Ezel says. “People can experience homelessness for a variety of reasons, such as losing a job, bereavement or domestic abuse. This can really affect their confidence and ultimately, their lives and the lives of those around them. We offer a platform for people to gain their confidence back and to get back on their feet. Everyone is unique and has a story to tell. Our role is to help people fulfil their potential, by helping them to unlock their amazing abilities and talent so they can turn their lives around for good.”

The first person to get that opportunity was Lucy. In 2015, Lucy was selling The Big Issue in Tooley Street, near London Bridge, but she was ready to take the step into long term employment. After training with Change Please, she became a full-time barista, even going on to run their coffee van at Canary Wharf.

“The support from the Big Issue was invaluable for us when we first started Change Please,” says Ezel. “Big Issue really helped us to source the right people who were ready for long term employment. But also, the reach and the reputation of the Big Issue brand really helped the awareness of our mission.”

Nespresso UK and Ireland CEO Anna Lundstrom says she could immediately see a connection between Change Please’s work and their own AAA Sustainable Quality Program, which supports coffee farmers in 18 countries including Colombia, Indonesia and Uganda, to build strong and resilient communities, making coffee farming environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Everyone at the company is “very proud” of their impact, she adds. So far, the AAA Program has supported more than 150,000 independent farmers, created sustainable farming practices, restored coffee farming in communities where it had disappeared and planted more than six million trees.

“At Nespresso, we believe that coffee cultivates connections, communities, and creates positive change,” Lundstrom adds. “Change Please shares this belief, and the work they have done over the past decade to offer individuals experiencing homelessness opportunities through the power of coffee and onward employment is what resonated with and inspired us. We are proud to be a part of the next chapter in their story.”

In the first year of the partnership, Nespresso has committed at least £1 million to the Change Please Foundation. The money will help fuel the company’s expansion, allowing them to reach more people that need them, as well as improve existing support for trainees. And that’s not all, says Ezel: “Beyond the commitment of over £1 million to support Change Please’s mission to end homelessness, Nespresso is committed to finding relevant onward employment opportunities for Change Please graduates within their business.”

A pink van selling Nespresso for Change Please coffee
The Nespresso and Change Please pop up coffee bar will be open for business at Outernet, London in June and July 

Nespresso has also donated a new Nespresso for Change Please coffee van to help spread the message. From 28 June – 3 July and on 6 July, Londoners can visit a celebratory pop-up at Outernet in London’s West End. “We aim for this space to build awareness and ignite conversations, leaving visitors eager to learn more, get involved, and join us in our mission to end homelessness,” says Ezel. All this is “very much the start” for the partnership, he adds – if lots of people choose the Nespresso for Change Please blend to perk up their day, the sky’s the limit. 

Lundstrom, too, has a vision for “the positive impact we can achieve together in the years to come”. It’s all about empowering people to make small decisions that can have a big impact.

“Creating a positive impact can sometimes feel overwhelming, with countless causes and ways to get involved,” she says. “However, in the coffee-loving nations of the UK and Ireland, it’s inspiring to realise that a simple and small change – such as the coffee we choose – can significantly impact the lives of others.” 

Nespresso for Change Please coffees and accessories are available from June 28 at Nespresso.com/uk

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