Eating out. There’s so many cafes, bars and restaurants around these days, it’s easy to be spoilt for choice. Choosing where you eat doesn’t have to just be about the food; you can actually use your hard-earned cash to contribute to a better society. When you nip out on your lunch break, wouldn’t it be great to know that you were helping someone in need from your meal?
These social enterprise cafes in London will give you that nice warm feeling in your tummy - not just from the delicious food and drink, but from the fact that you’re making a valuable impact to improving the lives of others.
Unity Kitchen is all about fresh, wholesome food with a social conscience. You're assured on quality; as everything is made fresh that day. They own several catering outlets; a cafe that’s available to the public (in E20), along with catering services. They’re serious about sustainability and waste, buy local, and support FairTrade. They offer jobs and apprentices to people with disabilities, and their model has proved so popular they’re approaching a turnover of £1 million.
Mazi Mas is a roaming restaurant that serves global home cooked food in the heart of London. Founded by Maria, a Greek woman who moved to America and found it difficult to set up her own business. Fuelled by the challenges migrant women workers face, she moved to London and created Mazi Mas. Her vision is of a world in which women are full, equal, and independent participants in public life; their care work valued, their voices heard, and their skill rewarded. ‘Eláte na fáte mazí mas’ is Greek for ‘come eat with us’.
Russell Brand’s Trew Era Cafe, based in Hoxton, is a social enterprise supporting people in abstinence based recovery and the local community. It is affiliated with RAPt, (the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust) Russell’s organisation founded to help people with drug and alcohol dependence, both in prison and in the community, overcome the grip of addiction and lead positive lives, free from drugs and crime.
If you feel you want to let off some steam, go ahead and write all over the Canvas Cafe’s walls. No really - this social enterprise near Spitalfields Market lets you do just that, being a support for mental and emotional wellbeing. They say ‘we're proud to have created a space that nurtures all aspects of your well being, from the physical to the emotional. Our food is homemade, fresh and healthy; in line with this ethos’.
More of a coffee house than a cafe, this ethical business in Peckham Rye serves fresh roasted coffee, along with some sweet treats. Old Spike was set up in early 2015 with a very simple goal; to help fight homelessness in the UK by roasting and supplying some of the country's finest specialty coffee. Their mission is to provide expert training, jobs and housing support for the homeless.
Known for its infamous supperclubs at their London bridge restaurant, this social enterprise aims to help the homeless through ‘the power of good food’. They offer workshops and chef training for the homeless,helping them to improve their skills and employability. Catch up with their Twitter Feed to see the various culinary delights on offer.
Devi’s A regular food pop up, Devi’s describes itself as ‘plant-focused food from Indo-Persia and beyond’. Profits go back into hosting female empowerment projects. Devi’s are passionate about gender equality, the refugee crisis and women's rights. They also partner with the London Community Food Plus Project, helping those in need who struggle to afford food.
Azi’s Kitchen, a catering service, describes itself as providing ‘seriously delicious Malaysian inspired cuisine’. They own the Lemon Tree Cafe’s in Whitechapel and Bow, and offer a street food stall on Roman Road. Their social outcomes include the training and recruitment of local personnel, use of local services, and the provision of affordable cafe food to the community.This means you’ll be able to get an authentic ‘Ayam Rendang’ for less than £8.00.
If you’re looking for local and seasonal produce, Cafe Sunlight will be up your street. As a catering service, they can service your office, party or wedding with delicious produce that has a great social impact. They make a positive difference by working with young people, adults with learning disabilities, ex-offenders and people at risk of exclusion. They believe that ‘food can play a vital role in transforming lives and communities'.
Their cafes in Shoreditch and Popular describe themselves as offering ‘delectable coffee, books, and treats.’ The cafes were created by the Spitalfields Crypt Trust, an organisation that’s been helping the homeless in London for over 30 years. Try some of their delicious baked goods, and all profits will go to those in need and recovering from addiction.