WINTER is all about cosy nights spent in front of the fire as the snow falls outside. It’s a completely different story for those living on the streets.
A takeaway cup of coffee or tea is a cheap and easy way to warm yourself up when out Christmas shopping. However, many homeless people can’t afford to spend loose change on hot drinks, with food and shelter taking priority with any spare money.
Cafes around Manchester are working to help ease the tension on those living on the streets and spread some festive cheer by taking part in the Suspended Coffees scheme.
Suspended Coffees is a concept which has been around since 2013. The movement was started by John Sweeney after he read about the tradition in Naples.
In Naples, after an individual receives good luck, they would pay for two coffees, but only drink one. This allows somebody in need to head in afterwards and receive a pre-paid coffee.
John’s version of the movement started off as a humble Facebook page, and within the first year the Suspended Coffees scheme was taking place in over 1400 cafes.
The Anchor Coffee House, in Rusholme, is one of these cafes taking part in the Suspended Coffee movement.
Simon Bray, a manager at the coffee house, said:
“We set up as a coffee house with the intention of serving high end coffee, and do something a bit different with everything else you get in the local area.
“What we do, is train people from scratch, as baristas, who can then spend time with us getting experience. A lot of people have gone on to earn a living by being baristas in coffee houses all across the UK.”
The Anchor Coffee House is owned by Vine Life Church, who are an active part of the community. Their mission is ‘To love, serve and lead in Manchester,’ so it’s no surprise that they are taking part in a selfless scheme such as this.
“The Anchor was the first building the church ever owned, and we run as a charity so it’s all volunteers.” said Simon.
“For us it made sense to do something like suspended coffees, to support the work we do in terms of reaching those on the streets.
“We have a team that goes out every Friday night around central Manchester to support the homeless guys.
“It’s not just through tea, coffees and hot drinks though. We give food and clothing, we offer to chat with them and pray with them if they want to.”
The Anchor Coffee House aren’t sticking with the traditional basic suspended coffee scheme, as they are trying to get more out of it.
“The way that suspended coffees work for us is a little different. It’s not a direct thing in terms of someone paying for a coffee and another person getting a single coffee in return.
“The funds generated by our suspended coffee schemes go into community projects that we’re running, like going out to people on the street.
“For a long time we held a weekly food bank at The Anchor and eventually found that there wasn’t much need for us.
“One for one is a great way of doing it, and if someone comes in from the streets and needs a hot drink from us or somewhere to sit in the warm, we’re happy to look after them and give them what they need.
“But it’s more important for us to be going out to people, because there’s a lot of guys out there who wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable just walking into a place like ours.
The price of the coffee is something that most people could spend without blinking an eye and that’s why the simple suspended coffee scheme is so successful.
The Anchor Coffee House have taken this idea to the next level and are trying to make the most out of the generosity of the Greater Manchester public.
With the coffee house being generally staffed by volunteers, they are always looking for an extra pair of hands and no experience is required. Get in touch with them on Facebook.