Social enterprise Canvas Coffee petitions against replacement by chain

Canvas Coffee, an award-winning coffeeshop and social enterprise based in a retail unit in Portsmouth & Southsea Railway Station, have launched a petition against the unit’s takeover by private franchise Café Destino.

Canvas was set up as a self-sustainable entity which, on the forefront, trades as a premium speciality coffeeshop, but behind the scenes exists to help and train people in early recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Since launching in early 2014, taking up the railway station unit provided by South West Trains on flexible terms, the social enterprise has created ten local jobs.

Earlier this year, however, it was announced that the unit would be taken over by Café Destino — who run a chain of outlets along the train network — following a tender process which Canvas were not able to be a part of.

If Canvas are forced out of their unit, the important work they do with vulnerable people and groups will suffer at a time when government cuts to similar services are stunting the ability of volunteers and social enterprises to provide aid to those who need it the most.

Canvas’ petition, which is run through Change.org, is an attempt to make South West Trains reconsider handing the unit over to Café Destino.

At the time of writing, the petition has accumulated over 500 signatures. The target is 1,000. Anyone interested in supporting Canvas can add their signature to the cause online »

Jenny Cox from Canvas Coffee told Team Locals: “We have been told that we need to move by South West Trains because they’re bringing in a franchise café. We really want to stay, because we feel we have a really loyal customer base, and we’re a social enterprise with a focus on working with people in the community in recovery. We have several volunteers who work with us in the shop, doing training — we feel we’re of valuable support to them.”

Petition signer Philip Ely wrote on the Change.org page: “Canvas Coffee is the finest example of an acceptable face of capitalism through social enterprise. Pravin and James have done an outstanding job of providing great coffee [and tea] for their customers, fulfilling a real customer need with a smile and generating income and self-esteem for a new generation of baristas who need a kick-start in life.”

Follow Canvas Coffee on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, where they’re known for sharing pictures each morning of the encouraging and humorous quotes they write on the chalkboard outside the coffeeshop every day.

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