Activism

Big Issue-backed Change Please coffee kiosk opens in Clapham Common

The award-winning coffee social enterprise is giving its sellers a hand-up on the underground to help rough sleepers on the TfL network

Change Please

The award-winning Change Please has been giving homeless people a hand-up on the streets, in supermarkets and now on the tube.

The Big Issue Invest-backed venture started off training rough sleepers as baristas on a single cart on London streets before its coffee reached Sainsbury’s shelves last year. Yesterday the initiative’s latest site opened with a kiosk in Clapham Common tube station with the added mission of helping people sleeping rough on the transport system.

As well as barista training, Change Please will also provide accommodation and wellbeing support to rough sleepers to help lift themselves out of poverty while earning the Living Wage.

Change Please Marco
Change-Please-Marco
Marco (right) joined Change Please from the Clapham Common centre for the homeless and vulnerable, Ace of Clubs

The new site, joining 31 others across London, Coventry, Manchester and more, was launched with a little help from Michelin star chef Michel Roux, who was joined by Change Please founder Cemal Ezel and barista Mo Austins at the grand opening.

“Sadly, homeless individuals are 13 per cent more likely to be the victims of crime and with winter approaching it’s understandable so many seek sanctuary across TfL’s network,” said Ezel. “We’re therefore so happy the Mayor of London and TfL have chosen Change Please to open at their stations, helping us fight the growing problem of homelessness and giving commuters a way to change lives every time they buy a coffee.”

The move into tube stations is the first step on a partnership with Transport for London with at least one more Underground site to come off the back of £60,000 funding from the London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

All the profits will be put back into Change Please mission, while it is also working with Clapham Common shelter Ace of Clubs on the Underground project. Commuters will be able to purchase £1 Ace of Clubs meal cards at the kiosk, which will provide a hot meal for the recipient.

Michel Roux Cemal Ezel
ChangePleaseTfLMichelRouxCemalEzel
Change Please founder Cemal Ezel (right) was joined by celebrity chef Michel Roux (centre) for the launch

Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, said: “This is a commercial partnership that, in collaboration with the Mayor of London and our dedicated public transport outreach team, is also helping rough sleepers to get back on track and build sustainable futures for themselves. No one should have to sleep rough on our streets or public transport. It’s a very important partnership and one that we are proud to support.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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