Second Shot, the social enterprise and coffee shop that employs homeless people will shutter its original location in Bethnal Green on January 16th.

It first opened its doors in May 2016 and was the first independent speciality coffee shop in the area. Immediately embraced by the area, the cafe brought people together and tackled homelessness – one espresso at a time. 

East London’s social enterprise cafe closes branch after giving away more than 40,000 coffees

Second Shot’s ethos has remained consistent showing that you can have both incredible quality and impact, without having to sacrifice either one.

Over six years, Second Shot has given away over 40,000 coffees and meals to the unhoused through the pay-it-forward system which not only provided sustenance for the individual but also enabled those experiencing homelessness to experience normalcy – by having somewhere they can go and be treated exactly the same as anyone else. 

For the paying customers, donating to the pay it forward system was an easy way to contribute to the local community, with an impact that they can see and feel on a daily basis.

The brand has won numerous awards for both the coffee and impact, becoming a landmark in the local areas and changing the lives of countless individuals in the process. Second Shot has successfully trained, employed, and transitioned 8 individuals out of homelessness. These trainees have gone on to work in hospitality full-time and have been reunited with their families.

Unfortunately, Second Shot is not immune to the coronavirus macro-economic environment and has had to make the difficult decision to close its doors on this location. They hope to return to their spiritual home of East London in the near future but for now, say goodbye, and thank the residents of Bethnal Green for creating something truly special over the past six years.

Founder Julius Ibrahim has said: “I believe that business is about more than turning a profit or creating a product. Fundamentally it’s about people. It’s about affecting positive human change. I will always be grateful to the people of Bethnal Green. They took the pipedream of a naive 20-year-old dropout and brought it to life. The people I met, the lifelong connections I made and the memories of the people’s lives we were able to change will stay with me forever. I hope we can continue to do this on Church Street.”

The good news is that the legacy created in Bethnal Green lives on in the people it has supported and the people who have been involved, and you can still visit Second Shot at their Marylebone branch, 49 Church Street NW8 8ES, or recreate the same Second Shot experience at home by having their beans delivered straight to your door via their website.

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Uzma Gulbahar holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University College of London. She is particularly interested in exploring untold stories surrounding marginalised groups, identity and culture.

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