Prisoner rehabilitation initiative, The Clink Charity, held its first ever fundraising extravaganza – The Clink Charity Ball 2016 – on Friday 15th January, in association with venue partner Lancaster London on Hyde Park.
The total raised from ticket sales, the auction and raffle tickets reached a staggering £47,278.50. The money will be re-invested into the charity’s work to reduce reoffending rates through the provision of accredited City & Guilds NVQ training and assessment in food preparation and food service.
The proceeds from the evening will support the continued development of further Clink training projects across Her Majesty’s Prison Estate too, following the same framework as the successful schemes currently in operation at HMP Styal, HMP High Down, HMP Brixton, HMP Cardiff and HMP Send.
With the charity’s ethos of developing long-term careers in this hospitality sector, the concept of The Clink Charity Ball embraced its sustained approach to social responsibility, engaging a talented workforce of hospitality trainees from across London.
Students from Lambeth College, the University of West London and Westminster Kingsway along with graduates of The Clink training programme, apprentices from Lancaster London and young people on the CentrePoint scheme took to the kitchens and the floor to prepare the dinner and serve more than 400 guests.
The evening started with a Champagne reception with canapés created and served by Clink Events, under the watchful eye of The Clink Restaurant founder and director of Clink Events Alberto Crisci MBE. An exquisite four-course menu created by Ben Purton, executive chef at Lancaster London, followed with each dish being created using ingredients kindly donated by the hotel and The Clink’s generous suppliers.
A trio of Scottish salmon was served as guests enjoyed live cabaret from students of the London College of Music followed by butternut squash and roasted red pepper risotto and a main course of herb-crusted rack and slow braised haunch of lamb. Rounding off the menu with a burst of fruitiness was a Granny Smith mousse with blackcurrant curd along with a selection of cheese, some produced just 30 miles from London.
Speaking of the charity’s inaugural ball, Chris Moore, chief executive of The Clink Charity, said, “I am most grateful to the event committee, chaired by our group restaurant ambassador Vic Laws MBE, for all their efforts.
“This was the first event of its kind that we have held and I’m thrilled to say it was a huge success. The amount that was raised will take us another step closer to reaching our goal of 10 prisoner training schemes in operation by the end of next year.
“Without the incredible support from our partners, sponsors and guests it wouldn’t have been possible. I’d like to say thank you to Lancaster London’s general manager Sally Beck, their executive chef Ben Purton and the whole Lancaster London team, Booker who supplied all the wine for the evening, all the food suppliers that kindly provided the produce used in the menu, and charity friends who generously donated raffle and auction prizes. Finally, I’d like to extend my thanks to all those who bought a ticket and chose to widen their support of The Clink Charity beyond our restaurants by joining us for what was a very special occasion.”
Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL, owner of Café Spice Namasté and Clink chef ambassador, took to the floor after dinner to introduce the extensive brigade of hospitality professionals, including students and Clink graduates, who dedicated their time to making the event such a success.
Commenting on the evening Cyrus added, “The evening was a fantastic event and an incredible opportunity for the students involved to gain solid experience of working a formal occasion on a large scale. Seeing the hard work from the young chefs in the kitchen and those front of house was inspirational and it’s great to see the next generation of hospitality professionals show such passion and dedication to excellence. I look forward to The Clink Charity Ball 2017 which is sure to be another roaring success.”