The world of work can be a scary and daunting place for anyone making their first steps into employment, but for someone leaving the care system, with little family support, it comes with lots of extra challenges.

CoffeeBreak is a project that provides opportunities for our young people to discover their spark and develop some of the key skills that any employer is looking for.

Our young people tell us regularly that they want to work but it feels like such a big step to make and often the challenge seems such a vast one that even making the first is too difficult. So, at Break, we wanted to do something tangible that would allow us to support our young people making this first step and give them the confidence to go on and challenge themselves further.

The first step was to engage with our young people to see what support they wanted, they came up with the idea of running a mobile coffee van and a small group of young people were tasked with completing a feasibility study into the idea. They worked together over a number of months with the UEA's Norwich Business School to explore the opportunity and presented their finding to our trustees. Armed with this information we were able to secure funding to make it happen.

Jack Nicholls with Joe Walden, Break's Opportunities Lead. Read about Jack's story here.

In November 2019 the CoffeeBreak project was born and since then has been working to provide opportunities for our young people to discover their spark and develop some of the key skills that any employer is looking for. One of the biggest successes of CoffeeBreak is seeing the young people taking ownership for the project, being excited to be part of it and, most importantly, being involved in the development in a truly co-productive way. A significant part of the project is allowing our young people to experience CoffeeBreak at their own pace. By making every opportunity as accessible as possible we have some young people who have been involved in, and contributed to every part of the project where as others have been more selective allowing them to grow into their roles.

CoffeeBreak began trading in September 2020 and has gone from strength to strength, there are now 5 fully trained baristas regularly working on our CoffeeBreak van. They have been supported to complete food hygiene certificates, health and safety training and becoming fully trained baristas. One of our young baristas had given up looking for work and after a few bad experiences they felt they were never going to have a job. They were reluctant at first and said they would not be interested in making coffee or serving customers but CoffeeBreak allowed them to explore an opportunity researching some of the technology we would need for the van. This was all the spark this young person needed and they are now a fully trained up barista, they are so keen to be a part of this project that they even spend their free time looking other venues and pitches for the van and growing the business.

CoffeeBreak is looking to go so much further and replicating the employment pathways for our young people but giving them the opportunity to complete an application form for a barista role so they can experience CV writing and selling their talent. They will be able to go through and interview process to better prepare them for what they might be expected to face in other jobs, all while being supported by us to break down the barriers to work and help them realise the benefits that gainful employment bring to both your mental wellbeing and your pocket.

If you’d like to book the coffee van for your office or organisation, please contact

Read about our Building Futures project