UCL finalist launches cafe which will only employ homeless people

He wants to make a ‘lasting difference’ to London homelessness

A UCL finalist wants to improve homelessness in London with his innovative coffee shop idea. 

Julius Ibrahim, a final year student and president of UCL Enactus Society, is making a push to create a lasting difference to homeless people in London.

His project, Second Shot Coffee, is set to arrive in East London this December, and promises to employ only homeless people and put them back on the road to recovery.



Second Shot Coffee will employ three homeless people every six months (alongside a coffee-expert manager), provide training, full time employment and a London living wage of £9.15 an hour in a bid to become one of the best coffee houses in the city, as well as the most charitable.

Working with homeless charity Crisis, the café will be able to ensure their employees are in temporary housing provided by the charity.

Julius’ scheme aims to give homeless people a stepping stone to full-paid employment and hopefully kick start a new life.

The finalist launched a crowdfunding campaign and is trying to raise £75,000 to support the refurbishment, stocking, wages and rent of the East London café. So far he’s raised £3,500 already.

Customers have the option to ‘pay forward’ a coffee by paying for a drink which can be redeemed by someone homeless in the future, as well as provide a work space for any Londoners without office space.

Homelessness is an ever-growing problem in the capital, particularly in the UCL area

Homelessness is an ever-growing problem in the capital, particularly in the UCL area

They also want to use as many socially responsible suppliers as possible in order to maximise the benefit of the café, even if this means lower profits.

Anything they make is pumped back in to their workers to make their lives even better.

Julius said: “I moved to London for uni and was hit by how bad homelessness is. Where I’m from it doesn’t exist or at least isn’t visible.

“But coming to uni and being in Euston, the amount of rough sleepers is amazing.

“It bugged me so much that I couldn’t do anything to help, and surprised me that there weren’t more people trying to do something.”

“Ever since I was young I enjoyed working with food and working with people and in the summer I used to convert my house into a diner.”

A mock up of what the café would look like

A mock up of what the café would look like

As an incentive to contribute to his project, Julius has created perks which become increasingly better depending on how much money you spend.

Incentives range from a grateful tweet and freebies from partners Old Spike Coffee, to barista courses and the option to name a future toastie.

The idea comes as figures show 2714 people slept rough in London on any given night last year, up 300% since the start of the recession, of which 52 per cent are under 25.

You can view Julius’ official campaign video below.