Change Please voted as the Consumer Facing Social Enterprise of the Year

We asked and you voted in your thousands to name the coffee company which employs homeless people as baristas the consumer's favourite social enterprise at the Social Enterprise UK Awards

The votes have been counted and the results are in: readers of The Big Issue have spoken, and the winner of the vote for the UK’s favourite social enterprise was revealed at a glittering awards ceremony last night.

We are delighted to announce Change Please – a fantastic coffee company which employs homeless people to be baristas at carts across London – was voted Consumer Facing Social Enterprise of the Year in The Big Issue Readers’ Choice at the Social Enterprise UK Awards.

It has been a landmark year for the social enterprise which has have grown from having one cart in Covent Garden two years ago to 15 sites across London. The fantastic coffee – which you can buy in The Big Issue Shop – also made it onto the shelves of 375 Sainsbury’s stores in September to spread the operation nationwide.

Big Issue editor Paul McNamee said: “It was a hotly contested public vote for an incredibly strong shortlist of innovative and creative social enterprises, from gardens to breweries, and we were bowled over by readers’ enthusiasm when we asked them to back their favourite. Change Please is a worthy winner, and have developed their business by expanding into coffee sales through Sainsbury’s earlier this year. The SEUK Awards showcases the best of Britain’s growing social enterprise field, and as one of the nation’s longest-running social enterprises The Big Issue was delighted to be a partner for the award.”

Also at the awards ceremony, Big Issue founder Lord John Bird and group chair Nigel Kershaw were among the inaugural members to be inducted into the SEUK Fellowship, a hall of fame for pioneers and champions of social enterprise.

This major honour recognised their status as leading lights in the social enterprise movement; for over quarter of a century they have led the way, advocating the growth of social enterprises as a new way of providing business solutions to social problems, not only through The Big Issue magazine and our outreach work across the UK, but also with the work of Big Issue Invest, which has invested more than £30 million since 2005 in social enterprises and charities.

Nigel Kershaw commented: “I am hugely honoured to have been recognised as an inaugural SEUK Fellow. However the fellows who truly deserve recognition are The Big Issue vendors, The Big Issue Group staff and all the thousands of people working in the ever-growing number of social enterprises up and down the country finding business solutions to dismantle poverty.”

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