Putting homeless people back on the street!

by City Shine CIC

About the project

City Shine will employ the homeless to provide a premium shoe shining service and we need your help to get started.

Shoes and Sensibility
Why shoe shining? Well, it's a service that is well known, easy to teach, quick to perform, rarely done at home (tut, tut), includes lots of face time with customers, and is a bit of a treat for the punter.

We will deal directly with businesses wanting to offer a perk to their employees and visitors, as well as establish the more traditional 'pay per shine' stalls around cities, in stations and airports, even at events such as trade shows and weddings.

On their uppers
There are all types of people homeless for all types of reason. We can't offer a magic bullet to fix this (not on Day 1 at least, but we're still growing and we've got our eyes on the prize), but we can make a real difference for some – and we think that's a good place to start.

We train motivated homeless people, and give them the tools and confidence to provide a competitive service. From there we support them in one of two choices: Self Employment, offering flexibility and control for those that want it; and Direct Employment with the stability and security that provides. Both routes give our shiners plenty of opportunity for building confidence, social skills and up to date work experience, and real money in their pockets at the end of the week.

I've got the world on a (shoe)string
We're working hard to keep start up costs to the bare minimum. We're trying to break even early and start growing from revenue; employing more shiners, and moving into other services such as quick tailoring repairs (fixing buttons or hems), domestic chores (knife-sharpening, a spot of gardening) and whatever else that we can use as a means to employ the homeless.

But we do need to bit of help to get started – we do need a little funding to start the snowball of sales revenue rolling down the mountain of financial sustainability to the unstoppable avalanche of a healthy going concern. And that's where you come in, dear reader...

A small donation buys your way into our story. We'll keep you posted on what we're up to and you can take real pride in what you've been instrumental in building. Larger denominations entitle you to a share in our sales revenue; as we grow, you could get your money back plus maybe some profit! (We hope that you might reuse that money to fund other projects – maybe even building a sinking fund of social finance - but if you use it for sweeties, you'll have certainly earned them)

Whatever you decide, we hope you'll stay in touch through social twit-face and our website to see what we're up to, and maybe even spread the word a little. In fact, there are plenty of ways you can help us without getting out the chequebook (see Get Involved below). Read more
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Organisation Details
City Shine CIC
14 Ash Tree Close
Surbiton, Surrey
020 3239 7573
Community Interest Company


Tipping Point £1,500
2nd Milestone £3,000
Final Milestone £5,000
tipping point
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
We're going to give the skills, confidence and opportunities to homeless people wanting to move on with their lives. Not only will we be directly helping a lot of people, but we'll be freeing up resources in the homeless shelters and charities for rough sleepers to move in.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
Statistics abound but let's not get caught up in the maths. Nobody should be homeless. Not one of the 5400 people currently sleeping rough in London should be without a mechanism or route back to a fulfilling and productive life.
What is your solution?
City Shine can provide a bridge between the homeless and full employment. A company committed to providing skills and confidence as the missing link to claiming back their lives.
How will you deliver this?
Meeting our first milestone, we can offer shiners self-employment opportunities, similar to a franchise scheme. We train, equip and find locations for our shiners who sell their expert shoe shining service. This suits shiners wanting the flexibility of 'being their own boss' and having us as to support them through this journey. But that's not all we want to do... With a higher level of funding, we can provide stable employment to shiners who don't choose the self-employed model. We make the sales and they receive a fixed wage.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Become part of our social network; follow us on Twitter and Tumblr and be our friend on Facebook
  • 5 minutes
    If you see one of our shiners in London, stop by and have your shoes shined! Don't forget to tell your shiner how you heard about us and what you think of the service.
  • 15 minutes
    Send us a quick email to let us know how we're coming across. What could we do better to get more people involved and excited about City Shine?
  • 30 minutes
    If you've got a blog, write a little something about what we're trying to do – or even about the wider idea of social business. Send us the link to your blog so we can show it off.
  • A few hours
    Have a chat in a pub with your mates – what social enterprises can you invent? Share your idea with us and become part of the social business revolution.
  • Regular time commitment
    How would you like to be involved in managing our social network feeds? Take our latest stories and news to the masses through Facebook Twitter and others.

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About the organisation

Geographical coverage

Within a city/shire