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Disrupting Systems to Advance Social Justice

Working Towards a Brighter Future 

Rooted and led by Inclusive Community Empowerment

With Community Wealth Building, Systemic Litigation, Mental Health, Research, 

Recovery pathways.

Protest March Signs


Our impact

Coffee Afrik is a highly respected lived experience-led organisation, producing high-impact work since 2018. Our youth services and problematic drug use projects have received national attention featuring internationally through Guardian Online and Sky.

Our key achievements include:

  • Running two Community Women’s Coops

    • Currently funded by Equally Yours, these hubs — which were set-up/informed/inspired by liberatory harm frameworks — are a space for convening, hot food coops, art and music therapy, spiritual healing, advocacy, ‘chai and chatter’ sessions, systemic litigation labs and campaign management.

  • Pioneering the UK’s first-ever Somali digital peer-to-peer support pathway for women, addressing undiagnosed mental health conditions.

  • Working on transformative programs in partnership with ELFT to improve access to mental health services for marginalised communities.

  • Youth provision: support for young people facing violence and grooming, homework; developing tech skills; diversionary activities such as football and boxing.

  • Support for individuals dealing with problematic drug use: we work with over 150 service users in Tower Hamlets, providing day and night outreach and culturally appropriate non-clinical support.

  • Campaigning: publicising social injustice (i.e., our national housing campaign funded by Civic Power Fund)

  • We believe in empowering communities to deliver the support they need themselves, creating spaces where people can come together, connect, and feel a sense of belonging. We tackle deep-seated, difficult, and often taboo issues in our community including mental health, asylum seeker rights, problematic drugs and homelessness. We believe that trauma affects people at both an individual but also a collective level, and that communities have the power to heal from within. We work to free our communities from cycles of generational trauma built up from decades of racism at societal and institutional level.

  • We empower community members to create and run local hubs, providing welcoming and culturally appropriate spaces for people to meet, try new activities and access support, based on a Community Wealth Building approach. Through the hubs and direct outreach into communities, we also provide practical support such as food provision, rooted advocacy, housing campaign support and substance misuse recovery provision.

  • We carry out research into community issues and campaign at local and national level to reduce inequalities and improve the lives of communities in some of the UK’s poorest boroughs, in partnership with bodies such as NHS England and the GLA. We believe that combining academic rigour with real world knowledge of implementation and experience produces best results. We are governed by a Service User Group, led by an Executive Team, and managed by a group of Place Based Leaders who oversee the work of the projects and healing hubs.

  • We are supported by a network of Elders that enables us to draw on additional expertise, as required, and to flex our capacity, as needed. Our commitment to equality in community transformation informs our workforce practice to ensure we promote all opportunities to tackle inequality.

  • Our new tech hub at Second Home in Spitalfields is focused on innovation and further education support specifically for young Black men.

Vision 2024

Our overall vision is to ensure that our organisation caters to the immediate needs of marginalised communities, to use hope as a discipline in our delivery and play a pivotal role in creating a more just, equitable, and culturally attuned hubs and to regenerate the hood. 


Our Focus

Supportive Friend

Working alongside the NHS to bring a transformative approach to Mental Health provisions. By focusing on providing culturally sensitive signposting services. Our work includes partners like ELFT & NHS England. 


Our overall vision is to ensure that our organisation caters to the immediate needs of marginalised communities, to use hope as a discipline in our delivery and play a pivotal role in creating a more just, equitable, and culturally attuned society.

We aspire to make positive, lasting changes in the lives of those we serve, anchored in ethical leadership values and community-centric strategies. Through true co-production, continuous refinement, and genuine community engagement, our vision is to advance social justice, ensuring that solutions to challenges faced by marginalised communities are both understood and embedded in broader policies and practices.

Coffee Afrik’s ethos revolves around support, empowerment, and equality. We reduce inequalities by creating platforms to address intersectional issues. Community centric.

Serving Food

We currently co lead 7 culturally competent hubs across multiple boroughs in addition to introducing the UK's first Somali run food pantry, which is managed by our clients and in collaboration with Felix Project.

Learn More

Reimagined Governance - joy, love, liberation.

Our leadership structure is rooted in decentralised responsibility. The central leadership team's primary role is to provide robust support and empowerment to the leaders of each community hub.

By continuously emphasising co-production and community feedback, we aim to curate solutions tailored to the unique needs of each community. This collaborative approach ensures our governance processes are transparent, responsive, and effective.

Our Stakeholder Steering Committee is rooted in a community governance model, whilst shaping and steering our direction. Our members include -

  • Local community leaders

  • Lived experience experts.

  • CAMHS Leads

  • Local VSO's working with young people

  • Representatives from funders

  • We are committed to supporting the diverse communities living in Tower Hamlets, and Hackney and have a robust community ‘In-reach’ model of leadership. We recognise that health and wellbeing sit within the intersections of identity and experience of the world and factors such as the stigma of mental health, culture and language can present significant barriers to access.

Our model is committed to creating programmes where identity and meaning are embedded. This can only be achieved by recognising that each members’ journey, experience, and identity is unique. The principles of our leadership approach and governance, choice, hope, identity, meaning and empowerment is our foundation, where the voices of our members matter.


We draw on factors such as spirituality, community, culture, and family along with the tools to manage mental health, which has a positive impact on recovery. By creating a solid foundation of listening, co production and co creation, our leadership builds hubs that put people at the heart of our governance.


Community Care

Our ethos

Coffee Afrik is a truly community-led organisation, recognising the community’s intrinsic knowledge of their needs. Like everything else we do, this project will be led by a listening/learning/community-leading approach.

Since our inception, we have been proactively engaging with the community through listening events across each borough, allowing us to gain a deeper understanding of community needs, particularly those of marginalised communities.

We will build on previous approaches/methods we have used ensure communities inform project design and development:

  • By organising twelve listening events across the boroughs, we have heard from 1299 individuals, ranging from young people to caregivers and community organisations. This ensures that every initiative is birthed out of genuine community input.

  • Privileging lived experience: Our leadership is not about hierarchical power, but about lived experiences. Those who have first-hand knowledge of the challenges our community faces guide our projects, ensuring authenticity and relevance from the very inception.

  • Our approach to working with diverse communities across Hackney and Tower Hamlets builds on our deep roots within communities and the relationships and our understanding of the needs, aspirations and inequalities experienced by service users and diverse communities.

  • We build safe spaces to support learning and growth, to harness wellness and resilience to feel empowered, with, and through the fostering of strong peer connection and engagement.

  • Our team will use their own lived experience of mental health issues to work alongside people in an equal partnership on their journey towards maintaining wellbeing, independence, and recovery into adulthood.

  • We use a quality improvement framework to evaluate target groups across Hackney and Tower Hamlets which enable Coffee Afrik to identify the communities who have poorer access, experience, and outcomes.

  • We focus on people who identify or who may be:

    • Carers

    • From racialised communities

    • Have a learning disability/Autism.

    • From families with a low income

    • Looked after CYP

    • In contact with the criminal justice system


  • As part of this engagement framework, we connect with community leaders and service users within the community through listening events, building relationships of mutuality and trust.

  • We have been funded by Civic Power Fund, to mobilise our campaigning strategy through listening assemblies on Health and Mental Health Inequalities, working with the diverse local communities in Hackney and Tower Hamlets and VCSE organisations to identify solutions to the inequalities in mental health they are concerned about.

  • We host events to share the priorities with key stakeholders in the borough, led by lived experience experts. 

  • Our model of Listening, Learning, Leading forms the basis of co production and identifying what the communities’ priorities are. In addition we would align their goals and aspirations with the priorities of each local borough, ELFT CAMHS and the ICB enabling service users and their carers to shape solutions with the wider system.

  • Working within the community and employing staff who reflect the demographic makeup of each borough, enables us to have wider access to information, knowledge, and solutions to target at-risk groups.

  • We build in the cycle of learning to iterate, where we adopt a practice of learning from our delivery, testing innovative approaches and reviewing our priorities. 

Get in Touch

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does"

William James

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