HMP Brixton has teamed up with The Clink Charity to open a restaurant at the London prison. Planning permission has been granted to transform the Regency Roundhouse – previously used as administration offices – into a three-storey 100-cover restaurant and meetings venue, which is due to open early next year.
The restaurant will be the charity’s third training facility, and will give prisoners skills in hospitality – leading to employment – to reduce the chances of re-offences being committed on their release. The charity’s Five Step Programme will be followed, which has been successfully implemented at the award-winning Clink restaurant at HMP High Down, Surrey.
Chris Moore, chief executive of The Clink Charity, believes that the Brixton venue will cement the future for further Clink restaurants. “Brixton was the perfect site for our next restaurant,” he says. “HMP Brixton is undergoing a regeneration project, and was looking for an organisation to work with to develop the building into an opportunity for rehabilitation.
“The central location lends itself to securing support from local businesses and members of the public, providing they are committed to The Clink’s vision and once the necessary security checks have been processed – providing real-life experience for those prisoners who make it through the selection process to join the programme.”
In 2012, The Clink Charity agreed a partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison Service, which supports the organisation’s bid to open a further seven Clink restaurants over the next four years. The charity is solely reliant on the support of the industry, charitable trusts and philanthropic individuals to build future Clink restaurants, and each training restaurant relies on the income from diners and donations to operate.
Edmond Tullett, governor at HMP Brixton, says: “Brixton is more than delighted to host the third Clink training restaurant in the Regency Roundhouse, which dates back to 1819. The restaurant will provide an unforgettable experience for customers and an unrivalled opportunity for prisoners to acquire marketable skills that will lead to local jobs and provide a pathway to a better life.”
Prisons Minister, Jeremy Wright adds: “”This is a great partnership, which gives offenders the chance to learn skills that can help them secure employment once they leave prison. We know reoffending rates are unacceptably high, and it’s through projects like this that we can help them build a strong work ethic that will ultimately enable them to turn their backs on crime.”
The Clink Cymru and The Clink HMP High Down restaurants welcomed over 15,000 diners last year.