Local Heroes, the people that have found innovative ways to help the less fortunate, whether that’s through helping the elderly with daily tasks or providing employment opportunities to refugees. We think these guys below are doing great things and we hope you enjoy reading their stories.

Eliza Rebeiro

Lives not Knives

Founded by Eliza Rebeiro in 2007 when she was just 14, this campaign started as a simple t shirt she had made emblazoned with the words ‘Lives Not Knives’. 12 years later and the issue of knife crime in London is now even more prevalent, making the work of charities such as Eliza’s Lives Not Knives more important than ever. Having grown from that first t-shirt design LNK has since moved towards supporting young people into education, employment and training. LNK works with a broad range of young people up to the age of 24, as well as a great number of local businesses – forging the connection between young people and prospective employers. The charity aims to assist young people by developing their skills, capacities and capabilities to enable them to participate in society as independent, mature and responsible individuals rather than falling into the traps of gangs and violent crime.

livesnotknives.org

Cemal Ezel

Change Please

A similar project to Second Shot, Change Please was founded by Cemal Ezel in 2015, with a mobile coffee cart at Clapham Common station. Now they have carts at places such as Borough Market and Canary Wharf, as well as having beans stocked in Sainsbury’s nationwide. Change Please is staffed from those referred to them by their partners – CrisisUK, The Big Issue, One Housing Group, Single Homeless Project and CentrePoint. This ensures that they take people who are as ready to work as possible and are mentored day-to-day by fully qualified coffee professionals with extensive knowledge of the business.

changeplease.org

Julius Ibrahim

Second Shot

Second Shot is all about ‘bringing people together by tackling homelessness one espresso at a time’. The coffee shop on Bethnal Green Road founded by Julius Ibrahim, employs people affected by homelessness, helping them with training and moving further on the workplace as well as running a pay-it-forward system, so you can pre-pay for an extra drink or snack when you buy your own brew, ensuring that someone on the street can get something to eat or drink for free. What’s great about Second Shot is that people can contribute toward something more, just through buying their daily coffee. But more than that, they’ll be receiving some of the best coffee London has to offer, made by individuals who not too long ago were homeless.

secondshotcoffee.co.uk

Alice Williams

Luminary Bakery

Luminary Bakery isn’t just our local bakery, but one of our favourites in all of London… and not just because they make some of the best cinnamon swirls we’ve ever had. The bakery, founded by Alice Williams, is a social enterprise designed to offer opportunities for women from an economic and social disadvantage to build a future for themselves. Encouraging ambition, restoration and second chances, they use baking as a tool to take women on a journey to employability and entrepreneurship. Yes, by feasting on cake, traybakes and pastries you are supporting a good cause and they are now open 7 days a week with toasties, soups and cream teas during the day.

luminarybakery.com

Varun Bhanot & Anisha Seith

UNHOUSED

The number of people sleeping rough in London accounts for almost a quarter of the entire homeless population of the UK, so it’s clear that more needs to be done to help. And that’s exactly what Varun and Anisha are doing with Unhoused.org, a non-profit online shop where for every item you purchase, another of the same is delivered to someone homeless.

The first Unhoused project they’ve launched is StreetWear – the UK’s First Online Shop for the Homeless. The idea is that people can buy their basic winter clothing on the site, and for every item bought, an equivalent is donated to the homeless. It’s a simple so far it’s been extremely effective, with an average spend of £23. If you think how rare it would be to give someone £20 on the street it’s clear that this has the potential to have a massive impact. What we really love is that they also send a photo or video of the donation so the giver sees the final result of their “purchase”.

unhoused.org

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