Employment / Food / Pubs / 12 June 2018

The Clink Restaurant at Brixton Prison

This week I had the pleasure of going to a prison in Brixton to lunch with Clink, the charity set up to train offenders in hospitality who are within six to eighteen months of finishing their sentences. Clink run four restaurants in Brixton, Cardiff, High Down and Styal and they also have a presence in 7 prisons, where they operate bakeries and gardens, growing produce for their prisons and even keeping chickens!

I was first introduced to Chris Moore, CEO of Clink, by Paul Hegarty at the Publican Awards this year, and I very much believe that as part of our outreach to employ more UK nationals, the Clink would be a very good partner for many in our industry.

The facts speak for themselves. There are 84,000 prisoners in the UK, but only 4,000 are women.  49.6% of prisoners re-offend, but for those who come out with Clink’s hospitality training, that is cut to just 8%.

I visited the Brixton Clink restaurant, which requires you to leave your belongings in a locker and go through full security before entering the restaurant. Whilst this may be an unconventional dining experience, the food itself was excellent and the surroundings and décor were just like that of a high end restaurant. There was no alcohol and you have to eat with plastic knives and forks, but the standards of service and presentation of the food are superb.

The Clink trains chefs and front of house staff up to NVQ Level 2. They also prepare them for the world of work and life after prison. When you leave prison, there is no requirement to have somewhere to stay. You are let out with £40 and the rest is up to you. With the Clink, ex-offenders are not only ‘work ready’, but they are looked after in the community.

So, what can our industry do to help Clink? Whilst they are a charity looking for donations, they are also looking for offers of work. If there is accommodation to go with it, so much the better.

This is where our industry can really help.

Clink are clear that they do all the necessary checks, and they will give you all the information about an ex-offender you are looking to employ. Most importantly of all, they firmly believe that many of their ex-offenders will be exceptionally loyal to their new employers for many years. Why? Because they have been offered a second chance.

For more information on Clink and how your organisation can support them, visit their website here.

Written by

Brigid Simmonds

Chief Executive

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