In my previous post, I touched on the need I felt some years ago, to live a purposeful life.

With all the life changes that took place after selling our business in 2012, we were presented with opportunities for new adventures. So, we moved to Greece where we stayed for two years and where we got involved in different voluntary projects. 

Two of these involved coffee and my speciality as a barista trainer.

The first, Pixida ( the word means ‘compass’ in Greek) is a community centre in the heart of Kipselli, a very run down area of Athens. Pixida is run by personal friends of mine through a local church and it seeks to reach out to help anyone in need including youth, long term unemployed, lonely people, anyone needing a helping hand. We set up a coffee school and have seen our first few graduates, proud of their hard work and devotion and excited at the very real prospects of work.

The second, Thiva women’s prison came about after my wife and I watched a TV documentary about the prisons of Greece and the various programs being incorporated to help inmates. The TV program mainly focused on one man Mr Klimis Pirounakis who has pioneered many projects in the Thiva women’s prison after retiring from years of teaching and as headmaster. He has such a passion to see these women released and able to stand on their own two feet, that he has worked tirelessly to set up a school within the prison and other work related projects. My wife, inspired by the story wasted no time tracing him down and connecting us! We met, discussed the possibilities and months later set up the first coffee school in a Greek prison! Each time I visit I am welcomed by the women due for release, eager to get stuck in, learn and get their SCAE certificates. I hear their stories, their heartbreak, many are victims of sex trafficking, some are mothers to young children. It is a privilege to be able to make a difference in their lives and I am humbled by their determination, persistence and positive attitude.

Although my expenses (travel) are covered, my work in these projects is voluntary and a privilege to be part of them and do my bit.

I invite you to join me, come on board and be part of this journey with me, helping make a difference, so please contact me. We are looking to set up coffee schools in prisons in the UK as well as other types of programs that are reaching out to those in need. The coffee industry is constantly growing and the potential is huge.

If you are involved in any social enterprise, non for profit, church or community type of project and want to improve your coffee offering or revolutionise your cafe, please contact me for an informal chat. I would love to work with you, using coffee to spread compassion.