The Clink charity will open its first non-prison venue in Canada House next month
The Clink’s first northern restaurant, at HMP Styal in 2015, was also its first in a women’s prison. And the North West will mark another debut for the charity next month, with its first eatery outside prison grounds.
The Clink currently runs acclaimed restaurants in four prisons across the UK, training inmates in hospitality and giving them a greater chance of employment on release. Over 800 offenders have completed the scheme since it launched in 2009, helping to cut re-offending rates amongst males by an estimated 41%.
But far from a jail, The Clink’s newest venue will be Canada House on Chepstow Street: a former packing warehouse whose Art Nouveau flourishes and terracotta exterior helped earn its Grade II-listed status.
The new venture will be staffed by previous graduates of The Clink, as well as young people from homelessness charity Centrepoint, with whom they also partner on their catering service. As homelessness can lead to crime, it’s part of The Clink’s preventative approach to breaking the cycle of imprisonment and follows previous collaborations with the likes of Food for Soul, cooking with surplus food at refettorios in London and Rio.
Set to open mid-April, The Clink café will serve homemade cakes and a seasonal menu of hot dishes and salads using sustainably-sourced produce. Some of this will come from the Clink’s garden projects, which operates similarly to the restaurant scheme; providing career support and the chance to gain City & Guilds NVQs in horticulture. The two sites, in Surrey and Prescoed, boast everything from heritage veg to 90 woodland chickens.
The Clink Café will offer ex-offenders and Centrepoint clients the opportunity to gain an NVQ in food and beverage service, plus barista qualifications, and will be the charity’s second North West venue (see our review of its first, HMP Styal here).
Chris Moore, chief executive of The Clink Charity, said: “Our Clink restaurants have proved incredibly successful and the café will give us the opportunity to continue the training and provide our graduates with the chance to achieve their full potential.
"Working with Centrepoint, as we do with Clink Events, allows us to expand the great work both charities do to help those who need a second chance.”
The Clink will open its new café in mid-April at Canada House, 3 Chepstow Street, M1 5FW.