Virgin Trains has helped 30 people out of homelessness thanks to its partnership with Change Please.
The train operator joined forces with Change Please in October 2018 to offer a premium coffee range onboard its services. Change Please’s profits from the partnership have gone towards reducing homelessness and providing support to those on its programme.
The organisation helps those without a place to live by providing full barista training, paying the London living wage and offering support with everything from housing to setting up a bank account, applying for jobs and mental wellbeing.
The profit generated from the contract in the last 12 months has supported 52 people with finding housing, finance management and CV and interview preparation. Of those, 30 are now employed as baristas at various organisations and the rest are still receiving support from Change Please.
Money has also gone towards launching Change Please’s new academy in Peckham, London, for training baristas.
Kingsley Young, one of the successful apprentices, started work in November with Virgin Trains, applying his new skills as a barista in the First Class lounge in Euston.
“Without Change Please, it would not have been possible to get this amazing opportunity and I am absolutely loving what I am doing,” Kingsley said. “I was surprised when it was suggested I could work at Virgin Trains’ First Class Lounge and it’s been a wonderful experience so far.”
Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please, added: “We were thrilled Virgin Trains chose Change Please to be their coffee provider, demonstrating their commitment to tackling the growing problem of homelessness. Not only has our partnership raised public awareness of this issue but with 100 per cent of our sale profits going into our training programmes, Virgin Trains customers have literally changed lives with the simple gesture of buying a cup of coffee every time they travel.”
Cemal grew Change Please from a single coffee cart with the help of Virgin StartUp, where he received a start-up loan, as well as essential business advice.
Find out more about Virgin Trains’ partnership with Change Please on the Virgin Trains website.