Jonjo Doe has been unable to obtain a street trading licence from Cambridge City Council because of Covid-19Louis Ashworth

Jonjo Doe, who has been selling The Big Issue outside Sainsbury’s on Sidney Street for over six years, has been denied a trading licence for his coffee trike business by Cambridge City Council. 

A well-known face amongst University students, Jonjo had been preparing to set up his coffee business - Cambridge Coffee - for over two years. However, with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Jonjo was “on the verge of losing everything.” 

The business was meant to launch in April but in an emotional message posted on GoFundMe, Jonjo explained that “the garage that has everything in it has gone into arrears” and that he was struggling to pay his rent and was fearful of being made homeless again. 

Following Jonjo’s appeals on GoFundMe, over £7500 was donated in 24 hours to his crowdfunding campaign, taking the total raised since 2018 to over £22,300. 

However, upon completing his coffee trike, Jonjo has been unable to start his business as the Council is currently refusing to accept applicants for street trading licenses because of Covid-19. A licence is required to trade in the city centre and without a licence, Jonjo’s trike business would be deemed as illegal trading. 

In an online post, Jonjo described how he has bought his “shopping and done everything in the city centre for five years” and that he will not give up on his “dream of trading in the city centre.” 

When he first launched the crowdfunding campaign, Jonjo told Varsity that his coffee trike fundraiser is “not a hard-luck story”, but rather a means of “setting up [his] own business and becoming independent again.” The coronavirus pandemic has proved to be another obstacle in the way of his journey to becoming a licensed trader in the city. 

Speaking to Varsity, Jonjo said that he “was told by the market manager that [he] would be told when [the] Sussex Street trading pitch would be advertised”, though now “[the council] are blaming covid-19… now they are not advertising the pitch.” 


Mountain View

Over £7500 raised in 24 hours for Big Issue seller’s Cambridge Coffee business

“I feel particularly let down by Cambridge City Council”, Jonjo continued. “The outright nastiness [with which] Cambridge City Council has treated me is beyond forgiveness and even if they gave me the pitch right now I would still feel aggrieved.” 

A petition started on the 3rd of August calling on the Council to reconsider Jonjo’s trading license at the time of publication has received over 1000 signatures. The petition stresses that “Jonjo deserves the chance to set up as an independent trader” and that he will be a “credit to the city.” 

Cambridge City Council in a statement told Varsity that “the restriction on new applicants is due to social distancing considerations and the current Government guidance.” The Council also detailed that, in order to enforce appropriate social distancing measures, it does “not believe it would be appropriate to take on new traders until such a time when we can accommodate and fully support all of our existing licensed traders.” 

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