From pastry chef to heroin addict and now trainee barista, Ecevit Tihsinhatga is rebuilding his life, through his job at Second Shot Coffee shop.
Watch the video and answer the questions below.
1 When did Julius Ibrahim move to London?
2 What passions does he mention?
3 How did Ecevit Tahsin end up living in the street?
4 What did he start using while he was on the streets?
5 How long has he been working at Second Shot?
6 What’s Emilio’s responsibility at Second Shot?
7 What does Second Shot also give to the homeless, apart from training people?
8 What was the increase in the number of people living on the streets in England last year?
We take people here at face value, we don’t judge, whoever you are, whatever you need, if we can help, we will.
In East London, a coffee shop has opened, employing people who have experienced homelessness in the past. Second Shot was founded by Julius Ibrahim. He dropped out of university and started a crowd fund campaign to get the social enterprise off the ground.
I moved to London in 2013 and I was just kind of surprised that there wasn’t anything more being done to alleviate the problem. So, I just wanted to kind of do something and the raise the profile of the issue, really and yeah, I just had a passion for coffee and passion for the industry.
Ecevit Tahsin, also known as Edge, works at Second Shot.
My own experience of homelessness is a very dark, very cold place. I used to be a pastry chef. I was with a partner at the time. I came home one night from work to find that she was messing about with someone in the house. We split up and because everything was in her name, I ended up on the streets. If you can imagine winter, freezing cold in a sleeping bag, trying to keep warm, trying to sleep.
During his time on the streets, Edge started using heroin.
Being on the drugs, I’m not gonna say it helped me, but it makes you numb, so you don’t feel what’s going on around you. But once my family found out I was on drugs, they kind of pushed me away. Nobody really understood me, what I was going through, what I was feeling and I was very isolated.
Edge managed to get himself off heroin and after living in hostels and temporary accommodation, he’s now being given his own flat. He’s been working at Second Shot since it opened in May 2016.
Being here has really given me a sense of purpose and helping me to re-establish my life.
Emilio is the head of coffee at Second Shot. He’s been training the homeless employees working at the café.
We started the training two weeks before we open. The idea of working with people who have been under a lot of like disadvantages, and they don’t trust people, you see, they don’t, they have a lot of issues in terms of like they don’t think that they are good enough for anything. We are trying to get the best coffee we can and at the same time helping the community around here.
As well as training people who’ve lived on the streets, Second Shot also gives free food and drink to the homeless.
With our loyalty card, after six times, each customer can get a free coffee but if they want to after three, what you can do is rip it half and hand it to someone on the street, that they can use to come in and get a free coffee. Our ‘pay it forward’ system is where our customers pre-pay for something, so that later someone off the streets can get it for free. Our customers have really embraced the idea and got behind it. We’ve given away almost 300 meals.
I’m a homeless person at the moment. I come in here every day and to get a free coffee and every time I come in here I always get a big ‘hello’. In fact, these people, sometimes wouldn’t have anywhere to get anything to eat.
The average person in the UK is only two paycheques away from becoming homeless. So, literally it can happen to anyone, and breaking down that social stigma, and getting people to understand, and getting people to give you a second shot is really challenging.
Last year there was a 30% increase in the number of people living on the streets in England. Lack of work is a major cause and consequence of homelessness.
The most rewarding part for me is doing what I love the most and also having it, making it for a good reason. Every day our customers come here and they are really happy with us, they love what we do.
I’ve been given a lot of responsibility. There is not many places like this where someone from the street can come in and feel like a part of the community. That for me really hits it home.
1 In 2013
2 Passion for coffee and for the industry
3 He split up with her partner.
4 He was on drugs, on heroin.
5 Since May 2016.
6 Training new staff.
7 Free food and coffee.