Charity sells ‘invisible coffee’ to tackle homelessness

09 Feb 2022 News

Invisible Coffee Company

A charity has launched the faux-coffee company Invisible Coffee Company outside of King’s Cross Station, London this week to raise money for people experiencing homelessness.

Set up by Single Homeless Project (SHP) in partnership with creative agency CPB, the fundraising idea came about when the agency considered how they could help those who feel invisible.

Commuters will have the chance to buy an invisible coffee for £3, with all the money going towards Single Homeless Project. 

Helen James, managing director at CPB London, said: “While the coffee won’t warm you up, it will warm your heart.” 

Coffee culture with a twist

SHP said: “Nobody hesitates to spend £3 on a coffee in the King’s Cross area these days. But as we queue up at our favourite coffee place, how many of us really see the many people sleeping rough just moments away? Is it any surprise that so many people experiencing homelessness feel invisible?”

The pop-up is outside King’s Cross station until 11 February. Volunteers from the SHP will be manning the Tuk Tuk.

The charity is also selling real branded merchandise, such as t-shirts, bags and coffee cups, which will remain available on its website after the pop-up stall closes. 

A Londoner becomes homeless every 11 minutes

SHP found that one Londoner becomes homeless every 11 minutes in its most recent report. This report also found that one person in London is made street homeless every 90 minutes – a statistic that is up by 44% from three years ago. 

Rising living costs means the number of people who become homeless could increase. The average households energy bills are set to increase by £693 a year. Not only that, food prices have risen to the highest rate since 2012. 

Last month Shelter reported that 222,360 households, which is equivalent to the size of Liverpool, have become homeless since the start of the pandemic. 

Liz Rutherfoord, chief executive at SHP, said: “Being invisible could be an amazing superpower. But feeling invisible is something very different and for Londoners living on our city’s streets, it’s a daily, grim reality. By buying a cup of invisible coffee, people can help a Londoner to leave homelessness behind, to be seen and to be heard and find a place to call home.”

All profits go to charity

CPB London teamed up with Single Homeless Project as a key charity partner at the end of 2021. After making a corporate donation, the London-based creative agency wanted to work with the charity on this campaign. 

The Invisible Coffee Company campaign was completed pro-bono, with all profits going directly to the SHP. 

A spokesperson told Civil Society News: “Every penny raised will go to Single Homeless Project to help Londoners experiencing homelessness get back on their feet. 

“CPB have paid for absolutely everything from the concept and design to the Tuk Tuk branding and products. CPB have also handled all negotiations with Camden council for the Tuk Tuk spot and their staff are even taking turns at the Tuk Tuk to speak to potential customers during the week.”

Simon Idio has lived experience of homelessness as he was forced out of his family home in Lewisham. He went to Single Homeless Project for help. He said: “It feels like when you live in London you are invisible. There are so many people just going about their daily lives that no one really sees you.

“When you’re homeless it’s just the same but this is a time when you need to be seen the most. I was on my own so I didn’t have anyone to help me out so I tried not to feel anything to just keep going. Being supported by Single Homeless Project has been completely different. People really care about me now.”

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Sophie Godwin, chef, food writer and Single Homeless Project ambassador. Chris Greenfield, partnerships manager, Single Homeless Project. Vicky Ames, head of communications, Single Homeless Project. Dave Day, executive creative director, CPB London. Helen James, managing director, CPB London.
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