10 QUESTIONS WITH HANNAH-POLLY WILLIAMS, PROGRAMME MANAGER OF UK COFFEE WEEK
Hannah-Polly is the programme manager for the annual charitable programme UK Coffee Week™. The programme celebrates the thriving UK coffee industry while raising funds for Project Waterfall, the charity working in partnership with WaterAid to deliver life-changing clean drinking water projects to some of the poorest communities in African coffee-growing countries.
As the programme manager, Hannah-Polly is responsible for programme strategy, implementation and overall management of the full UK Coffee Week programme, including relationships with the major coffee chains, independent artisans, sponsors, media partners, members of the Allegra Foundation Board and several other stakeholder groups.
Hannah-Polly has a background predominantly in communications within the international development field and holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and a Masters degree in Global Governance and Ethics from University College London.
Taking place between 22-28 April, UK Coffee Week comprises in-store fundraising, the workplace initiative Coffee@Work, The London Coffee Festival, a variety of independent events across the country and a full media campaign, all raising money for Project Waterfall. The programme is organised by the Allegra Foundation (registered charity number 1133540).
1. When did you develop a passion for coffee?
I’ve always loved coffee and coffee-shop culture. I find coffee-shops incredibly relaxing and I’m able to be very productive when working in that type of environment. I did my entire master degree from various coffee-shops around London.
2. How do you take your coffee?
First thing in the morning I like my coffee strong and black, with a little sugar. From mid-morning onwards I like a nice flat white. I’m trying to limit myself to 1 cup of coffee a day at the moment but its not going very well!
3. Describe UK Coffee Week in one word
4. What are you most looking forward to about UK Coffee Week?
The week is a true celebration of coffee culture up and down the country. I can’t wait to see so many diverse coffee establishments really coming together and uniting around this programme.
5. What’s been your favourite part of organising UK Coffee Week?
I love being able to have an idea and put it into practise almost instantly. We are a small team but it means that we can be very quick to implement innovative ideas.
6. Why did you choose Project Waterfall in particular?
The processes that produce coffee from bean to cup are very water intensive. Often many of the people in coffee-producing countries lack access to clean drinking water. For example only 54% of those living in Tanzania have access to clean water. It was really important for us that we gave back to these communities, hence our support of Project Waterfall, which works in partnership with WaterAid.
7. Which coffee shop do you spend most of your time in? (I took the student part out as I’m not a student!)
I have probably visited most of the coffee shops in London and I try to visit at least one new place each weekend. My favourite coffee-shop discovery at the moment is Timberyard, close to Old Street roundabout. Definitely worth checking out, I recommend their chocolate and peanut butter brownies!
8. What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?
I think I would have told her to have more faith in herself and her ability to make a difference and “do something”. I’ve always had a very strong desire to try and “do something” with my life.
9. Who do you most admire?
My Dad. He is the most resilient, hard-working, life-loving and unwaveringly optimism person I know.
10. Beatles or Rolling Stones?
Probably The Beatles, but in my opinion Michael Jackson trumps them both!