Just a small Change Please

There is much to like with the new social enterprise scheme being trialled in London that gives homeless people the opportunity to staff coffee carts and earn a living wage.


This not-for-profit initiative addresses a growing problem with rough sleeping in London having increased by 80 per cent since 2010. It is backed and inspired by The Big Issue.

The idea and execution undoubtedly has the potential to positively change the behaviour of both workers and those homeless.

Crucially it does not require those ‘donating’ to significantly change behaviour.

Coffee is something they already buy and pay for – the small change needed is where they get it from. Compare that to the Big Issue which involves an additional (sometimes unwanted) purchase and spend.

Finding the coffee should be easy with stalls located outside offices and train stations. A caffeine fix with the feel good factor of helping the homeless motivates with more immediate gratification than a magazine.

It is also a distinct and salient proposition. The CHANGE PLEASE branding on cups separates their coffee from more self-serving alternatives such as Starbucks.

change please

For the homeless the benefits go beyond a financial donation to include the training, skills and confidence to leave unemployment and social isolation behind for for good.

In summary, the ‘Change Please’ enterprise has embraced a ‘small change’ approach that should support societal and sales benefits.

More information can be found in this Guardian article: Change Please

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