Rail jobs, staff issues and training

22.11.19

Virgin Trains helping homeless people into work through coffee partnership

Virgin Trains and Change Please has helped 30 homeless people become employed baristas.

The train operator joined forces with Change Please back in October 2018 to offer a premium coffee range onboard, with Change Please’s profits from the partnership going towards reducing homelessness and providing support to those on its programme. The money raised has also gone towards launching Change Please’s new academy in Peckham, London, for training baristas.

Virgin Trains has used Change Please coffee beans to brew the one million cups it sells onboard each year, along with the countless cups poured in First Class. The beans, which are Rainforest Alliance certified, are carefully selected by master roasters and Virgin Trains to create a unique blend that has been taste tested by Virgin Trains customers.

Change Please helps those without a place to live by providing full barista training, paying the London living wage and offering support with housing, bank accounts, applying for jobs and mental wellbeing.

The profit accumulated from the past 12 months has supported 52 people with finding housing, finance management, and CV and interview preparation.

Out of the 52 people, 30 have gone on to be employed as baristas at various organisations with the rest still being provided with support.

One person who successfully started working as a barista in the First-Class lounge in Euston station earlier this month, is Kingsley Young. He was put in touch with Change Please by the homeless charity St Mungo’s.

He said: “Without Change Please, it would not have been possible to get this amazing opportunity and I am absolutely loving what I am doing. 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.”

Founder of Change Please, Cemal Ezel, said: “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% 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.”

Image: Change Please barista Kingsley Young in the Virgin Trains' First Class Lounge at Euston

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