UK enterprise turns homeless into entrepreneurs

UK enterprise turns homeless into entrepreneurs

What if the marginalized homeless could join the workforce to produce a popular product for an ever-growing market? That was exactly the vision of a few forward-thinking Brits who started “We Walk The Line,” an enterprise whose goal is to teach young and disadvantaged individuals a useful trade: namely, that of a coffee shop owner and barista.

The company works through an apprenticeship-based business model. The end goal of the coffee-centered apprenticeship is to leave young, disadvantaged people with marketable skills and the means with which to set up their own mini coffee shop kiosks–little red stands attached to bicycles.

“We help with the buying of stock, with ongoing marketing and support, paperwork, licensing and that sort of thing,” said We Walk The Line’s co-founder Kieron Tilley.  “In return you run your coffee concession as a self-employed person, supported by the social enterprise.”

The founders of We Walk The Line, Matt Corbett and Tilley, hope to encourage the dispossessed to gain independence and skills to support themselves in practical ways. At the moment, the company is focusing on barista and coffee training, but the founders say that in the next couple years the company could be moving toward anything from florist training to bike repair.

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Coffee may help liver function

Coffee may help liver function

People drink coffee for many reasons: the taste, the caffeine, the excuse to socialize, the list goes on. According to a new study, coffee drinking may actually protect the liver as well.

The study, published in the Hepatology journal, looked at the coffee-drinking habits of 27, 793 people, of which more than 14,000 consumed coffee. The researchers tracked the blood levels of four enzymes that indicate liver function.

Researchers found – after controlling for factors such as age, gender, race, and smoking and alcohol consumption – people who drank three cups of coffee a day were about 25 percent less likely to have abnormal liver enzyme levels compared to those who drank none. The results were similar for the 2,000 who drank decaffeinated coffee.

It is unclear what compounds in coffee are responsible for the effect. “There are more than a thousand compounds in coffee,” the lead study author, Qian Xiao, said. “There are a few candidates, but I don’t know which is responsible.”

The study is not based on cause and effect, but rather on observation, so Xiao said he would not make recommendations based on the results. “But it is reassuring that coffee and decaf are not harmful to liver function,” he said.

Coffee drinkers can continue to sip with confidence.