A scheme that helps homeless people get off the streets by providing them with full time work as a trained barista has taken another step forward.
The Change Please mobile coffee cart scheme – which was launched in November 2015 and backed by The Big Issue – launched its acclaimed coffee into 375 Sainsbury’s stores nationwide, including the Sedlescombe Road store, in Hastings, on September 18.
The scheme has trained up homeless people to run coffee carts, as well as given them a home to rent and a full living wage.
Thomas Noble, 34, started working for Change Please earlier this year and has used the programme to end sleeping rough.
He said: “When I first heard about Change Please, I thought it was a fantastic idea because I know a lot of homeless people who need help. Now I’m in a position where I have some really valuable skills and the knowledge of an industry I have grown to love.
“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, I never thought I’d make it past 30.
“Now I’m 34, I have my own flat, and best of all I can have a chance to succeed and have a nice productive successful life with all the support anyone could ever ask for.
“Change Please means life for me, I wouldn’t be here now without them, I know this for sure.”
Each barista spends six months on the cart learning valuable vocational and social skills to help them re-enter society and move onto full-time work.
Since its launch in November 2015, Change Please has helped 35 formerly homeless people totally transform their lives with a full intervention that includes housing support, bank accounts, a living wage job, therapy and full emotional support.
The in-store launch follows the success of the mobile coffee carts that in under two years have grown from one in Covent Garden, London to eight scattered throughout the capital.
Cemal Ezel, the founder of Change Please, said: “A huge step forward to helping the current state of homelessness in the country.
“Change Please aims to create a real win win situation; knowing that we’re continuing to feed the consumer demand for high quality coffee, but on a much wider scale now through the consumer product, we can make an even bigger impact on this country’s homelessness problem.”