“Where homelessness, great art and coffee meet,” reads Café Art’s slogan. The London-based social enterprise is supporting a new coffeeshop opening in Turnpike Lane to employ homeless people stranded in the British capital. The coffeeshop is run by social enterprise Shine Haringey, which wants to open up a Shine Café in the heart of the North London town of Haringey. The coffeeshop will help train locals suffering from homelessness, mental illnesses, and drug and alcohol abuse, on the art of coffee-making. They believe that this experience will not only provide those employed with jobs, but also enable them to build skills, character and confidence.

Café Art and Shine are rooting for £29,776 (USD 38,446) as a budget to establish the coffeeshop. They set up an online crowdfunding campaign on Tuesday, July 4 that will run until September 17. So far, as we type, they have reached out to 33 backers who have pumped £10,826 (USD 13,978.53) into the project, which represents 36% of their goal budget.

Using the allocated budget, Shine vows to purchase cafe and training equipment, install a professional coffee machine, host regular courses for at-risk locals, make the building accessible for people with disabilities, and with all that, create a new community cafe for everyone to enjoy.

cafe art

Shine Haringey

“The Shine Centre is located at 89-91 Turnpike Lane and has been set up as a multipurpose social and small business hub, which now runs daily wellbeing sessions and local art exhibitions and offers work experience opportunities to Haringey residents,” says the centre’s manager Angus Barry.

The partners hope to place the cafe close to the Shine Centre – between Crouch End, the Haringey Ladder, Wood Green and Turnpike Lane tube station, with a double shopfront onto Turnpike Lane. Through their location, they aim to make use of an neglected space, attracting more people to it with the smell of coffee and the best interest of the people who make it.

“We are very keen to support this enterprise which we see as a logical next step for participants in our art projects,” says Café Art’s director Paul Ryan. “By creating jobs for people who are homeless, we will be able to direct people who are looking for stable jobs after the annual MyLondon calendar selling season.”

Cafe art

Graphic designer Alex Mesher-Smith (L) and Paul Ryan (R) check the rolling proofs before signing off the 2016 My London calendar to be printed. Café Art.

In July 2016, Café Art handed out 105 disposable cameras to homeless people in London to take photos of their city. Five days later, they collected the cameras and printed the photos, submitting them to MyLondon competition. A panel of judges reviewed the photos the following month; these judges came from the Royal Photographic Society, Amateur Photographer magazine, Fujifilm, Christie’s, and the London Photo Festival. The judging panel included photographer and an ex-homeless artist Ken Lennox. The panel selected 20 photos to be included in an exhibition, and the public then voted on the top 13 photos to be included in a calendar for 2017.

It’s hard to believe this to be a sustainable solution for homelessness in London, but it could be a proactive step that would encourage more NGOs and enterprises to give a hand to the rough sleepers of London. More than 8,000 people slept rough on London’s streets during 2015 and 2016. In fact, the number has more than doubled over the last five years, and nearly trebled over the last ten years, with a 188% increase.