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The Big Issue trains homeless people as baristas in new venture to tackle challenge

The Big Issue has expanded its model into coffee, training people who are homeless in London as baristas and paying them the living wage as they set up shop in state of the art coffee vans.

The charity’s philosophy is that it can help homeless people by giving them the opportunity to earn their own money. It is most commonly known for its weekly magazine which currently, over 2000 individuals buy copies for £1.25 to then sell for £2.50.

Homeless individuals will be housed in temporary accommodation and trained as baristas at The Old Spike Roastery in Peckham to sell premium coffee with the hope that they will gain the skills and experience needed to enter the mainstream workforce. Any profit from the scheme will be re-invested into the programme to train a new cycle of baristas.

The coffee brand will be known as Change Please with people also able to buy beans and merchandise online.

The Big Isssue’s national distribtution director, Peter Bird explained: “Change Please is the fresh approach now required to help the homeless. Selling the Big Issue works well to provide people currently living on the streets with a way to help themselves work towards a better life, but there is a gap between that segment of homelessness and securing a regular job that needed a solution; Change Please provides that and will hopefully be the leg up that people need to work their way back in to society.”

Daily updates on the Change Please website and social media channels will tell people where the vans will be located. Over the next year, the project will be launched in other major UK cities.

The idea was conceived and backed by creative agency FCB Inferno.

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