He is well known for establishing the Big Issue, a magazine bought by homeless people for £1.25, then sold to members of the public for £2.50, and they keep the profit. His latest idea involves homeless people selling cups of coffee from carts in London. If the idea is a success then he hopes to spread it around the rest of the UK.
It might not be the biggest news story of the week but it's definitely a positive one.
The following article is from the Daily Telegraphy and delves into the story a little bit more, it can be found HERE:
Big Issue moves into the coffee business, training homeless people as baristas
The new scheme will provide a living wage and temporary accommodation as it sets homeless people up as coffee vendors
Big Issue founder John Bird has teamed up with entrepreneur Cemal Ezel to establish a new coffee brand aimed at helping the homeless.
The Change Please organisation will train homeless people as baristas at Ezel's Old Spike Roastery in Peckham. They'll be paid the the London living wage of £9.15 an hour and housed in temporary accommodation as they set up shop with state-of-the-art carts, selling ethically-sourced coffee at £2.50 a cup.
The brand has launched with carts in central London locations including Covent Garden and Waterloo. It will extend into other major UK cities over the coming months, with staff outside of London receiving £8.25 an hour. Any profits from the scheme will be re-invested into the programme to train more baristas.
Change Please says on its website: "It’s a chance to make a real difference, simply by changing where you buy your coffee. With the support of The Big Issue, we have empowered homeless people with the skills and equipment they need to become the UK’s best baristas."
The Drum quotes Peter Bird, national distribtution director at Big Issue, saying: “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.”
Ezel told the Guardian: ““We guarantee that this programme will make a significant contribution to helping alleviate the homelessness problem across the country – if we can get a small proportion of coffee drinkers to simply change where they buy their coffee, we really could change the world. By providing both a job and housing we are immediately lifting people out of homelessness.”