How Coffee Can Reduce UK Homelessness – Old Spike
coffee helping homelessness woman with tattoo doing latte art

How Coffee Can Reduce UK Homelessness

Homelessness in London and the UK

Everyday in London, 74 16-24 year olds become homeless (NHYC). That’s a bus full every single day.

With the current cost of living crisis and the state of political play, it’s sadly unsurprising, but key charities and industries such as coffee are supplying refreshing solutions.

In this entry we’ll be identifying key definitions of homelessness, assessing the current state in the UK and explaining how training initiatives can provide a second chance for those affected by homelessness. 

Specialty coffee barista pouring latte art

What does homelessness mean?

What is the definition of homelessness? For many, it begins and ends with rough sleeping. This is the most extreme example of homelessness, but the definition is much broader.

Being homeless encompasses many forms and you can still be homeless with a roof over your head. Some other forms include: hidden homeless (staying in bnbs or on friends’ sofas), statutory homeless (in temporary accommodation), at risk of homelessness (people in poverty or unsecure housing) (Crisis, Shelter).

Using a range of identifiers, Crisis estimated that 8,000 people are sleeping rough at any one night in England (Crisis, The Homeless Monitor 2022). In addition, around 80,000 households in England meet the definition of statutory homeless, leading to temporary housing and insecure living situations.

Old spike social impact coffee training for homeless

Organisations supporting homelessness 

Thankfully there are a number of organisations providing free support for those experiencing homelessness. Focussing on London specifically, below are a list of referral partners we work with personally that help provide support:  

The Connection at St Martins-in-the-fields


St Mungo’s



How can coffee help? 

As a social enterprise, 65% of our profits are reinvested back into our barista training programme. Last year, our programme impacted 93 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness; over 80% of which continued to further training, employment or education.

The 6-week programme is designed to help trainees gain confidence, develop transferable skills and provide education around work readiness and CV building. In 2023, we are continuing to build and grow the programme, and aim to impact 250 individuals by the end of the year.

Old Spike specialty coffee roastery building and training academy

How we plan to do it

Simply put, a bigger and better space. With the continued support of our customers and contributions to our Crowdfund campaign, we are able to start the construction of our new training academy next month. This will allow us to nurture current relationships with charity partners and give us the scope to grow new ones, both locally and further afield. 

Social impact and our new roastery

Although a key reason for moving site, our training academy isn’t the only way we plan to increase our impact. The new site itself, situated in the heart of Loughborough junction, is owned and run by Meanwhile Space, a social enterprise turning temporarily redundant space into productive use for communities.

Our new Giesen coffee roaster will allow us to roast coffee quicker and more efficiently and our partnership with Eden Reforestation Project continues — planting a tree for every bag of coffee sold. 

Hand holding cup of specialty coffee with latte art love heart

Your direct impact 

Education around homelessness and what it means to be homeless not only allows us greater empathy, but also helps the organisations above support those who need it most. In buying our coffee, visiting our cafes or simply spreading the word about our mission, you are directly impacting the lives of those affected by homelessness by providing us with the means for training.

We wanted to share our appreciation and say thank you, it means the world to us and others.

Further support and resources for homelessness

If you know anyone who could benefit from the information or services highlighted in the article, please don’t hesitate to share or follow the links provided above. If you’re interested in coffee or want to find out more about our story, head back to our homepage. 

Watch Thomas' story below