Homeless to run coffee stalls

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The Independent Online

Homeless people are to be trained by a top Sheraton Hotel as part of a Big Issue style scheme to help them earn a living by selling coffee and snacks.

Homeless people are to be trained by a top Sheraton Hotel as part of a Big Issue style scheme to help them earn a living by selling coffee and snacks.

The first mobile coffee stalls to be run by homeless people in Britain will be set up in Edinburgh by a local charity in an effort to give the down-and-out some job skills.

The Sheraton Grand Hotel has already volunteered staff to teach them how to make coffee customers will crave. It will train six people initially, but all future staff will also receive training from the hotel.

The first stall, to be called Dash Cafi, will be set up in Hunter Square in Edinburgh. The location has earned a reputation for being filled with beggars often accused of hurling verbal abuse at passers-by.

A cup of coffee will go for £1, with half going to the homeless workers. It is hoped the scheme will match the success of the Big Issue, a magazine sold by homeless people across the UK.

The man behind the scheme is Tam Hendry, general manager of Edinburgh's Streetwork Project, who has worked on the plan for months. He hopes the scheme will give the homeless valuable work skills as well as much-needed money.

He said: "It will involve young, homeless people and the project will teach them how to earn money as well as learning new skills. We are planning to sell cups of coffee, fresh juice and perhaps some doughnuts.

"They will be trained in effect to run a small business, so if they choose to leave then they are leaving with a skill that can be used in other establishments. Hunter Square is a busy area and popular with the tourists, so we think it will do a good trade."

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