Homeless man finds his feet with charity coffee scheme in Euston

Evening Standard 2 weeks ago

A former homeless man has gone from spending nights in hospital waiting rooms to serving customers in a first-class lounge.

Kingsley Young, 61, a former civil servant, slept rough in London for over a year, before he turned his life around, joining Virgin Trains as a barista earlier this month.

He is one of 30 former homeless people to find work as baristas at companies because of Change Please, a social enterprise which provides training, a salary and support to those without a place to live.

Mr Young, who has been serving coffee in the train operator’s first-class lounge in Euston said: “Before this opportunity I couldn’t find a job and I wasn’t getting interviews, no one would take a chance on me.

Kingsley Young is serving first class customers for Virgin Trains

He added: “I was in a bad place, sleeping anywhere I could, dealing with universal credit and lack of opportunity, but now I think I’ve found my feet and I’m doing okay.

“I am loving what I do now, everyone here has really supported me and made me feel welcome, which is good after just three weeks.”

Virgin Trains has also partnered with Change Please to offer a premium coffee range onboard.

Founder of Change Please, Cemal Ezel, said: “We were thrilled Virgin Trains chose Change Please to be their coffee provider, demonstrating their commitment to tackling the growing problem of homelessness. 

“Not only has our partnership raised public awareness of this issue but with 100% of our sale profits going into our training programmes, Virgin Trains customers have literally changed lives with the simple gesture of buying a cup of coffee, every time they travel.”

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