Honest Grind is serving coffee with social impact

Camden’s radical employment programme opens its first café in Regent’s Place

A career in coffee has recently been brewing as a strong solution to some of the life problems faced by disadvantaged people in Camden and beyond with Honest Grind roastery.

In fact, our borough has emerged as a leader in innovative bean-based projects, including Redemption Roasters (which helps prevent reoffending among prison leavers and was founded beneath their first café on Lamb’s Conduit Street) and Well Grounded (offering training, mentoring and career progression for adults facing barriers to employment, all from their home on Camley St).

This time last year, Camden Council ventured into the promising coffee training landscape too, setting up the Honest Grind roastery in a Somers Town basement, and providing what they call a ‘radical employability programme for London’s most vulnerable young people’.

Now, to mark their first birthday, the HGC team have just opened their first coffee stand in a particularly tasty location right in the heart of Euston.

“Since we launched Honest Grind back in March 2023, our wonderful participants have been working hard at developing barista skills and producing specialty grade coffee beans for our wholesale and web store customers” says Programme Lead, Marsha Brown. “Having a customer-facing site was the natural next step, allowing us to emerge from our subterranean production base and get to work serving our beautiful coffee in a more light and airy space. When Daniel Pitt at the Old Diorama Arts Centre (ODAC) contacted us to see if we would be able to provide a café for their gorgeous lobby, I knew at once that this was going to be a great partnership.”

The ODAC is a buzzing neighbourhood hub, filled daily with a mix of performance artists using the studios for rehearsals and local residents dropping in to explore creating art of all kinds. “’Where round here can I get a good coffee?’ is one of the most heard questions from our team on the front desk,” smiles Daniel, “and now finally the answer is ‘over in that corner’!”

It’s a big deal for everyone who has worked tirelessly to get things on this pilot scheme so far, so quickly. You can do your bit for supporting the work of HGC by buying a bag or two of their very tasty beans and stylish merch via the online shop, or dropping in to the OADC foyer any day of the week from 9am – 2pm (10am on Sundays).

“There is a great balance of vibrancy and calm at the Old Diorama Arts Centre,” says Marsha of their new home. “Everyone has been so welcoming and supportive of Honest Grind Coffee, it really is the perfect setting for our young people to have their first customer-facing work experience. Our programme provides real paid work experience, employability skills and develops self-worth for participants. It’s been incredible watching our young people flourish and I’m delighted that we now have a space for them to showcase their skills and potential.”

Find the Honest Grind Coffee concession at at Old Diorama Arts Centre, 201 Drummond St, Regent’s Place, NW1 3FE

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