A Social Enterprise Tour of Europe

by Sarsha Crawley

A Social Enterprise Tour of Europe

Thinking of doing (or redoing) your own EuroTrip after seeing everyone else’s on News Feed? Why not try out some of these social enterprise eateries during your trip?

Just like here in Melbourne, there has been a boom in cafés with a purpose emerging throughout European cities. From London to Berlin your coffee can help create change within the local community and abroad.

London is bustling with social enterprises and its original social enterprise café just celebrated its twelfth birthday. The award-winning Café from Crisis has trained over 400 at-risk young people who have gained hospitality skills through serving healthy, home-style food on Commercial Street and works to reduce youth homelessness.

Combining the love of good coffee with good books, Paper & Cup is an East London social enterprise that provides training and work for people who have experienced long-term unemployment or are recovering from addictions. At Paper & Cup, you can drink your freshly brewed coffee whilst reading the collection of carefully selected books. The proceeds of all purchases, be they edible or readable, go towards supporting homeless people and people who are in recovery from addiction.

Further north and Scotland is leading the way with socially-minded businesses so you’ll be spoiled for choice when looking for coffee with conscience in Edinburgh. Alongside the arts and culture are a myriad of social enterprise businesses and Social Bite is a “sandwich shop with a difference” that directs all profits towards alleviating homelessness. Social Bite channels profit into three areas – feeding homeless people each night, a training program to help individuals develop the skills they need for employment, as well as supporting external charities that work in the area. Rest assured that the few pounds you spend on a coffee will be helping to change someone’s life.  

Dignita is a modern social enterprise in Amsterdam with the motto “Eat well. Do Good.” The menu features ethical and locally-sourced ingredients and home-style cooking with all the dishes made from scratch. At Dignita, you can enjoy all-day brunch while supporting the Not For Sale organisation that provides hospitality training for vulnerable groups. Be sure to check out their Instagram for beautiful snaps of their food and two gorgeous locations.

Berlin’s Cafè Kurve is the perfect place to relax if you want to escape from the tourist hot-spots. Located south of Berlin’s city centre, Café Kurve employs people experiencing mental illness to help create stability and routine in their lives, as well as providing transferable skills to widen future employment prospects.  

And finally, if you’re spending the winter break doing an intensive unit at Prato, you’ll be able to check out Milleluci Café in nearby Florence. This amazing café provides jobs and training for young people with Down syndrome to give them more independence in their daily lives. Pop in for good service and even better food.

So, as you marvel at the history and architecture, and make the most of the nightlife, be sure to check out what cafés the city you visit has on offer. Your simple cup of coffee could help create change in the lives of the people that serve it to you.