Around a year ago a good friend wanted to surprise me. I remember him saying, “you’ll love this place, I know it.” Even simply walking down the street I felt something different. I felt like I was entering a community. There was a sense of togetherness. As soon as we arrived I remember thinking: what a great space for people.
What is it?
Paper and Cup is a not-for-profit social enterprise: a café and bookshop which serves a variety of hot and cold foods and drinks. It was founded by a local charity called SCT which helps homeless, marginalized and addicted people on their journey of recovery; so every item purchased at Paper and Cup helps change people’s lives.
What do they do?
Currently they have two cafés, one in Shoreditch and the other near Mile End. The one in Shoreditch is smaller and more intimate with a cosy vibe. The varied book collection is impressive and so are all the herbal teas! Every Wednesday (7pm-9pm) the Shoreditch cafe transforms into a ‘choices’ cafe where people in recovery can meet, form friendships and support one another. These evenings are open to anyone who has not used alcohol or drugs in the last 24hrs. The branch in Mile End is much bigger and is partnered with St Paul’s Way Centre, which provides different spaces, classes and resources for a range of needs and means. There are indoor, outdoor and bookable spaces. There are computers for anyone to use. There are indoor and outdoor play areas for children. I really enjoy spending time there and anyone I take there loves it.
Why do they do it?
To help people improve their lives of course! The team is made up of people who care about doing important social work and believe that social enterprises can play a role as responsible service providers. At Paper and Cup you are firstly a person and your custom is appreciated because it goes towards good causes. A few people who work at the two cafes have told me it’s the best job they have ever had. They do meaningful work and can support themselves. The cafe helps those who need it most.
Find out more, hear stories and get involved
The best way to find out more is to go and visit next time you’re in Shoreditch or Mile End! You can also visit their website and join the facebook group for contact info or testimonials/stories showing how they help change people’s lives. You can also check out reviews.