Struggles faced by those affected by homelessness in winter

Experiencing any form of homelessness or displacement affects mental health and can result in depression, lack of participation, de-skilling and loneliness. In winter this increases with wet weather, freezing temperatures and lack of sunlight. Many Change Please trainees report that winter and Christmas heighten their depression, loneliness and fear things will never change. They struggle to rebuild a social circle and dread questions about how they’re spending the holidays as they have no idea where they’ll be and, often, the only time they feel part of a community is when they’re working.

In winter mental health is also under strain from the constant fear of increased energy bills and the worry about how to cope with the cold. Many of our trainees will live in poor conditions with damp, leaks and inadequately heated homes.


How the Change Please training programme helps

A referral to Change Please is the start of a new, positive journey for someone experiencing homelessness - and a chance to find hope!

Our paid training programmes help trainees mentally and financially. Not only do we provide individual plans, therapy and mental health support but our paid employment aides trainees’ societal inclusion. Supporting trainees into sustainable, long term work roles improves their mental health as they regain social skills, confidence and trust - and feel able to reach out to members of their local communities.

Change Please also provides a weekly income, employability skills and will negotiate with landlords. We help trainees find more suitable and sustainable accommodation and advise on budgeting and, in emergency situations, help them access hardship funds and crisis services.


The Change Please training programme referral process

Trainees are referred to Change Please via a member of a charity, social enterprise or government agency, and it is this connection that further supports the candidate to transition into training with us.

Our barista training sessions are held over 3 days and include: an introduction to espressos, customer service skills, how to use machines and how to texturize milk (and latte milk art). Following the 3-day introduction session, attendees will have a needs assessment, and, if offered a training contract, will earn a London living wage and work 10-15 hours a week.


How can you refer someone to Change Please this winter?

Referrals can be made by submitting a form for the client/service user. Forma can be requested by emailing:

Our referral criteria includes the following details regarding the potential candidate: 

  • History / current circumstances
  • Eligibility to work in the UK
  • Interest in working as a barista, a customer facing role
  • Motivation to learn new skills and work as part of a team
  • Level of basic spoken English
  • Desire to build/rebuild their employment career


Our Impact Support team can help referred candidates who are living in a hostel / care leavers / domestic violence survivors / rent arrears / prison leavers or temporary accommodation – as well as those who are sofa-surfing.

The journey into training for candidates who’ve experienced an element of homelessness may take time, some may initially require support with housing applications and temporary accommodation, whilst others need more emotional support, financial budgeting advice, confidence building or help to adjust to the routine of work.

 Our Change Please barista training / employment programme demonstrates how we change the lives of the growing number of homeless individuals - mentally and financially - and a referral can make an incredible difference at winter.