Holly Piper

Head of CAF Venturesome

Charities Aid Foundation


14 June 2017

The issue of homelessness in the UK has been a growing problem in the face of budget cuts and the cost of living increasing. As a result the homeless population in the UK has grown 16% to 4,134 in 2016. A key aspect of this issue is the barriers homeless people face when looking to secure employment, which restricts their route out of homelessness and into a more stable life.

In 2016 CAF Venturesome was contacted by Old Spike Roastery CIC, a coffee roaster and café based in south-east London. The company’s mission is simple - using its coffee-roasting company to provide both housing and a living wage to homeless people. The model aims to work with a small number of people at a time and offer them a life changing intervention designed to support them to move on to employment and more stable housing. Despite only trading for around a year Old Spike had seen a phenomenal growth rate in its revenue driven by the growing interest for its coffee from corporates looking to improve the social impact of their supply chain. As a result it was seeing more demand for its coffee than it could supply. 

How CAF Venturesome supported Old Spike

CAF Venturesome provided a £40,000 loan to enable Old Spike to purchase a much larger coffee roaster. This would enable Old Spike to increase it production and as a result work with more homeless people. Whilst Old Spike was waiting for the delivery of the new roaster it was presented with the opportunity to open a new café in the old Southwark Town Hall in Camberwell.

This new space was an exciting opportunity for Old Spike due to the additional space it would have and the potential customer base in the new area. CAF Venturesome was approached for an additional loan of £50,000 to provide funds to support the refurbishment and opening of this new space. The new café opened in March 2017 and it has already seen a strong start to its activities.

"We are extremely pleased to have been able to convert an empty un-used part of the old Southwark Town Hall, into a high end social enterprise restaurant. At Old Spike we are constantly looking for a way to create more job opportunities for our beneficiaries without compromising on the quality of our product. Without the support of CAF Venturesome, this would have still been a dream of ours."

Cemal Ezel, Director of Old Spike Roastery CIC

CAF Venturesome has now provided two loans to Old Spike to help its mission to grow their activities, in order to support more homeless people transition off the street and into work. As a result of our social investment, Old Spike will be able to increase the number of homeless people it works with from 5 to 33.

The model that Old Spike adopts relies on consumers feeling empowered to make change in their local community through their spending power. This highlights the potential that social enterprises have in tackling deep seated issues. We are excited to support Old Spike in its journey and provide it with the financial and relationship support it needs to meet the demand for its product and to provide a powerful avenue to address the issue of homelessness in the UK.

Want to know more about CAF Venturesome?

Talk to our team on 03000 123 300 or email us at venturesome@cafonline.org and we’ll be happy to help.