Old Spike Roastery source, roast and pack some of the finest coffee available whilst offering meaningful employment to those affected by homelessness. Here's how a £60,000 loan from CAF Venturesome is helping us deliver our mission.
The issue of homelessness in the UK is a growing problem in the face of budget cuts and the cost of living increasing. As a result the homeless population in the UK has grown. A key aspect of this issue is the barriers homeless people face when looking to secure employment, which restricts their route out of homelessness and into a more stable life. We knew there were already a number of businesses and enterprises helping the homeless, but we knew the crisis was only getting worse, and wanted to apply our business knowledge and experience to see how we could help. We recognise that the problem of homelessness is huge. It’s not simply enough to give someone the keys to a home, it’s about giving them the opportunity to earn their own money so that they can pay their rent and rebuild their self-esteem.
Our mission is to train and employee homeless people across our business. Whether they work in our café, assist in our coffee production or deliver our coffee to all our wholesale customers - every bag of coffee you buy goes some way to ending homelessness here in the UK. For employees of Old Spike, help comes in many forms that create a “full-life intervention” rather than a piecemeal solution: they are provided with a house, a bank account, occupational support, clinical psychology support, and more.
We have a couple of cafes but also supply coffee to businesses. The loan was towards the refurbishment cost of a new location for Old Spike Roastery that offers commercial benefits and the opportunity for Old Spike Roastery to grow its impact. CAF Venturesome has now provided two loans to Old Spike to help our mission to grow our activities, in order to support more homeless people transition off the street and into work. As a result of social investment, Old Spike has been able to increase the number of homeless people it works with.
In this video we want to highlight the difference that social investment has made one man’s life. From being homeless in London Thomas was supported by Prisoners Abroad. He then participated in an employment training programme and was introduced to Old Spike. Thomas began by working part-time at Old Spike Roastery and now works full-time in the new café and has a Change Please coﬀee cart in London’s Borough Market and Victoria Market. He earns the London Living Wage, has a ﬂat, paid holidays and plans for the future.
He even has his own blend of Change Please coﬀee, “Tom’s Blend”, sold in Sainsbury’s all over the country. He says he now knows what happiness feels like for the first time in years. CAF Venturesome has supported Old Spike with two social investments and has also financed our sister company, Change Please, to buy coffee carts to offer more training and employment opportunities.
Old Spike Roastery’s co-founders are Richard Robinson and Cemal Ezal. Following the success of Old Spike both as a coffee roaster social enterprise and café, Cemal went on to found Change Please, the London coffee cart social enterprise training and employing people who have been homeless, working with the Big Issue. Thomas, in the video, works for both Old Spike and Change Please.
Social investment from CAF Venturesome was crucial for us. We quickly used it to move to a new site as we outgrew our current café site within 18 months. It was crucial in allowing us to train and employ more people. For Change Please, our key partner, we couldn’t have started operating the coffee carts around London without social investment.
Richard Robinson, Co-Founder
We are proud to support the growth of both Old Spike Roastery and Change Please, offering vital opportunities for people who have been affected by homelessness.
Jo Wedderspoon, CAF Venturesome