London has hundreds if not thousands of coffee shops but many of them are like Second Shot Coffee.
Second Shot Coffee is a cafe employing and supporting London’s homeless. Not only do they do great coffee and cakes, but every time you buy something you are helping to change someone’s life.
Immediately you notice the standout feature of the coffee shop – the ‘pay it forward wall’.
You pay for your cuppa or cake at the till, and then pre-pay an item for someone else in need. Once you have paid, you grab a pen and add it to the wall and its ready to be redeemed by someone later on. An extra £1 gets them a hot drink, £2 for a cake and £4 for a hot meal.
What a simple and brilliant concept.
From the walls to the food, the artwork to the coffee – everything has been thought about and designed to help and support vulnerable people.
The tea is from The Kettle Shed, who donate directly to homeless shelters across the UK. The pastries are supplied by Luminary Bakery, an enterprise helping women break the cycle of prostitution, abuse, and criminal activity. (You can read all about the founder, Alice, here. The bread by The Dusty Knuckle who work with young people to give them tools for a better future. And the cakes and brownies are from Rise Bakery, a service that trains rough sleepers and formerly homeless people to produce high-quality baked goods.
As well as these wonderful schemes they will also run after hours as a hub where food drives and advice sessions will take place.
Some people might be thinking it’s just coffee, it’s just cake, how important can they be. Think about this for a moment.
Remember a time when some things stressed you out and you couldn’t wait to get home and sit down with a cuppa or a slice of cake. Afterward, everything just seems that little bit better, doesn’t it? Now imagine doing that for someone who doesn’t have a home to go to. That coffee or cake might be the difference in someone having the energy to get up and do something to change their lives.
When you think of it like that, a coffee doesn’t seem such a small thing anymore does it?
Second Shot Coffee is open to the public now. If you’re out and about over the weekend or happen to be in East London during the week, pay them a visit. In their own words – help tackle homelessness one coffee at a time.
Address: 475 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 9QH
Telephone: 020 7739 1628
Nearest Station: Bethnal Green
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 7am – 6pm / Sat – Sun 9am – 7pm