Addiction charity, Aquarius, is celebrating the success of its first social enterprise with expansion just six months into trading. Evolve, a café that helps provide young people with training and job opportunities who have issues surrounding addiction and mental health, has now opened its second site at Pebble Mill on the Pershore Road.

Just six months after the first Evolve opened at the site of the troubled Adam and Eve pub in Digbeth, ‘Evolve 2’ is located close to Cannon Hill Park and the new Pebble Mill development site, the ‘grab-and-go’ coffee shop offers sandwiches, cakes, wraps and soups.

Evolve’s talented young workforce is key to its mission, working alongside Talent Match Birmingham and Solihull, a pre-employment programme that helps 18-24 year olds develop the skills they need to secure employment. With the opening of Evolve’s new venture, more young people from difficult backgrounds will be able to gain skills that will ensure they are able to find and sustain employment in the future.

Kate Hemming, a Senior Practitioner at Aquarius and the project lead for Evolve, comments:

“I can’t believe that we’ve already opened our second coffee shop – it’s such an achievement, not just for Aquarius but the young people who make Evolve what it is. Our team has worked really hard to make the social enterprise a success – they’re dedicated to providing a quality service to our customers and really passionate about making a difference to the local community.

“Their dedication has already proved fruitful as all profits from the first Evolve have been re-invested back into the business, which meant that we were in a position to open Evolve 2, with more locations planned as we continue to grow.”

With the help of Evolve’s training and mentoring programme their young people have been able to deal with difficulties such as mental ill heath, homelessness and substance misuse, which have previously been barriers into the workplace. The opportunities at Evolve have helped young people build on their confidence and gain new skills and experiences that will ensure they are able to be successful in the future.

Joseph Allen, Talent Match Birmingham & Solihull Programme Coordinator, said:

“We know youth unemployment is an on-going issue in Birmingham and Solihull, which is why our programme is committed to providing sustainable opportunities for young people. Through our skills workshops and training, one-to-one coaching as well as in-work support, we continue to break down barriers to employment – benefiting the young person, but also employers like Evolve, whose on-going support is invaluable to tackling the issue.”

Evolve, which is the first social enterprise project by Aquarius, now has the transformed premises of the once renowned Adam and Eve music venue in Digbeth, as well as the new Perhsore Road site. A not-for-profit coffee shop, Evolve is open daily and provides a fresh, honest menu prepared by our team of young apprentices living in the area. The Digbeth café also offers a modern event space available to hire for meetings, training, conferences and any other business needs.

All profits made from both coffee shops and the event space are re-invested directly back into Evolve and other vital community projects that help to support individuals affected by a range of social issues, including addiction and mental ill health.

To find out more about Evolve and its offering, visit www.evolvebirmingham.co.uk, and to see more of the work done by Aquarius, visit www.aquarius.co.uk.