Change Please is a unique social enterprise and foundation with a mission to end homelessness by selling great tasting coffee. The enterprise helps people experiencing homelessness by training them to become coffee baristas and supporting them with everything they need to turn their lives around: a living wage job, housing, therapy, a bank account and then permanent roles in the hospitality and catering sectors.
But their vision for reducing homelessness through trade doesn’t end there. In 2021, Change Please launched the Driving for Change initiative in Hackney and is now operating in Croydon and Lewisham, as an intervention to provide people experiencing homelessness with key health and care services aboard a mobile bus.
Using refurbished London buses the service takes primary care directly to the streets, giving rough sleepers, sofa surfers and people in temporary accommodation an opportunity to access practical support and pathways to key health and care services. Those visiting the bus at Fairfields Hall every Friday, 10.30 to 4pm, are welcomed by a team who provide free GP consultations, dental care, vaccinations, showers, haircuts, and employment support.
This wrap around, one-stop solution is proving to be a vital offering for vulnerable adults, particularly as it allows people who have no fixed address to access every-day health support.
As winners of the Primary Care Project of the Year for the HSJ Partnership Awards 2023, the project is going from strength to strength, and since launch, they’re on track to support 1,000 clients by the end of 2023.
Driving for Change gives some of Croydon’s most vulnerable people the opportunity to access crucial primary care services, which can help them to improve their wellbeing and lives in the long-term. Our partnerships with local social services enable us to provide sustainable, wrap-around support for people most in need.Henrietta, MacEwen, Head of Partnerships
Driving for Change has created key partnerships to make sure clients are supported with everything they might need in the long term. Working in partnership with Croydon Council and Change Grow Live, health support is brought directly to clients who are also helped to access drug and alcohol programmes, mental health support and emergency accommodation through Thames Reach and Streetlink.
As challenges from the cost-of-living crisis persist, the number of rough sleepers continues to rise, highlighting the need for a sustainable approach to tackling homelessness. There are no plans to slow the project down with grand plans to scale Driving for Change further across London and beyond.