Change Please & Old Spike Roastery | Ending Homelessness Case Studies

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Posted by: Will Dixon, Research & Campaign Executive | Last modified on 20/12/2019

Change Please is a social enterprise coffee start up, staffed by homeless people, which in turn funds the training and development of other homeless people, whilst the Old Spike Roastery in Peckham roasts coffee beans, and provides training and employment.


Backed by the likes of Richard Branson, who named Change Please as his ‘start up of the year’ in 2018, Change Please has opened mobile coffee carts in prime locations across London including Borough Market, Canary Wharf, the Shard, and Cheapside, and other sites across the UK. It is also the coffee provider for Virgin Trains, and is in the process of opening three sites in New York City.


Founded by Cemal Ezel in 2015, in partnership with the Big Issue, Change Please provides the skills needed to become a successful barista, whilst also teaching those who sleep rough the skills and opportunities to further their careers and regain their financial independence. Those who are on the scheme, referred to Change Please others in the sector including Crisis UK, the Big Issue, One Housing Group, Single Homeless Project and CentrePoint, are given housing whilst on the scheme, with their rent directly paid to landlord by Change Please. They are then trained and mentored day-to-day by qualified coffee industry professionals in order to learn all aspects of managing and working in a coffee shop including customer service, quality control and management.


Both Change Please and the Old Spike Roastery pay the London Living Wage to all their employees, as well as providing them with support regarding housing, bank accounts and mental well-being.


The coffee carts provided to the baristas are solar-powered, while the leftover coffee grounds are converted into biofuel pellets, which is in keeping with the social enterprise aspect of Change Please.


Cemal Ezel said in an interview that; “we have had many successes with individuals that we have supported on their journey out of homelessness and this has been extremely fulfilling to see”. Many of those trained at Change Please either go on to work for the coffee enterprise full time or move on to employment with one of their partner businesses.


Change Please has won recognition across the UK, as Ezel was awarded Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017, whilst Change Please was named one of the ‘Top 100 most disruptive brands in the world’ by Marketing Week in 2017.



Future Work:

Over the next couple of months, we will be releasing further case studies and big ideas from both retail and other industries on how they are trying to address homelessness.

Read our previous case studies on Social BitePret Foundation, RICS, Unhoused and Beyond Food Foundation.

We will also be releasing toolkits on recognising vulnerability to homelessness and the impact of in-work poverty, and encouraging compassionate ways to manage rough sleeping in your area.

We will also be signposting to volunteering opportunities from now and over the Christmas period to help those without proper shelter as we work to eradicate rough sleeping once and for all.

Keep up-to-date with the latest work we are doing in this area on Twitter and LinkedIn.


At Revo, we support the people and businesses involved in the diverse world of retail property and placemaking to thrive and prosper. Get in touch to find out more.