Recent news

16/09/14The Clink Charity appoints group mentoring ambassador to support prisoners’ continued educational development
by The Clink

Graham Bamford 02

The Clink Charity is strengthening its Ambassador Programme as Graham Bamford joins the line-up of hospitality experts as group mentoring ambassador. As a charity that provides hospitality training to prisoners the support of dedicated industry professionals is paramount to its continued success, as they strengthen the educational offering, nurture the trainees and spread the word of The Clink to their peers.

As an accomplished hotelier and Master Innholder, Bamford has been appointed to provide support to ex-offenders graduating from the training scheme and nurture their continued development as they enter careers within the industry.

Bamford will work closely with the team of dedicated mentors to ensure that the support given to those leaving prison, and starting work in the hospitality industry, will continue to keep them on the right path. Delivered through hands-on training sessions within the restaurants, and continued support once released, mentoring is a key part of the ongoing rehabilitation of Clink graduates being released into positions within hotels and restaurants where strong customer service skills are required.

The ambassador programme has the backing of well-known chefs to ensure an in-depth and consistently high standard of training is given to those working in the kitchens. The same high standard is seen in the education given to those working front of house in The Clink Restaurants, with Bamford’s extensive experience further strengthening the training efforts.

Graham Bamford says, “The Clink Charity has already done such excellent training work with prisoners in the UK which has dramatically reduced reoffending rates and I am thrilled to have joined its Ambassador Programme as group mentoring ambassador. We are extremely fortunate in the hospitality sector to have numerous networks available to us and I am very proud to be spreading The Clink’s word amongst them to drive support from our industry peers.”

Chris Moore, chief executive of The Clink Charity, added, “It’s fantastic to have Graham on board with us as The Clink’s group mentoring ambassador. His incredible experience in some of the country’s highest rated establishments will enrich the hands-on training offered to the prisoners working as part of the charity’s rehabilitation programme. With his enviable book of contacts within the hospitality industry, and more specifically hotels, I hope he will be able to aid our prisoner recruitment efforts by helping to change misconceptions of employing an ex-offender and finding potential employment opportunities for graduates.

Bamford joins fellow group ambassadors Albert Roux OBE, group chef ambassador and Vic Laws, group restaurant ambassador, bringing another dimension to the charity’s training offering. As group mentoring ambassador, Bamford will dedicate his time, knowledge and experience to the prisoners in training and ex-offenders entering the work place, to coach them and find secure employment opportunities that will continue to benefit their learning and development.

As respected industry figures, Clink ambassadors help raise the charity’s profile and champion its mission of rehabilitating prisoners through education, resulting in a significant reduction in reoffending.

With three prisoner training restaurants currently in operation and a fourth due to open at HMP Styal in Cheshire in 2015, The Clink concept is expanding across Her Majesty’s Prison Estate. With The Clink Gardens at HMP Send and Clink Events, the event catering branch of The Clink, the charity is over half way to its goal of having 10 training projects running by the end of 2017.

To find out more about The Clink Charity and its prisoner training initiatives and for information about getting involved, please visit www.theclinkcharity.org.

To book a table at one of The Clink Restaurants, please visit www.theclinkrestaurant.com/restaurants/book-now.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITOR:

About The Clink Charity

Each of The Clink Charity’s training schemes uses The Clink Five Step Programme, developed by the charity, where prisoners with between six and 18 months left of their sentence are selected, following in-depth testing to assess their suitability to the scheme. On completion of their training, mentors work with the prisoners to find employment opportunities within the UK and upon prisoners’ release, mentors meet them at the gate and support them through the employment process. Once a job has been secured, the mentor will visit the graduate at their place of work on a weekly basis for a minimum of six months to ensure their continued commitment to their own rehabilitation.

Offering a memorable dining experience, The Clink Restaurants also offer businesses and members of the public the chance to help The Clink Charity in reducing reoffending rates by changing public perception and providing prisoners with real-life experience of the hospitality industry.

 

About Graham Bamford

Graham Bamford has extensive experience at a senior level in some of the finest hotels both in the UK and abroad. In 1990 he moved to Singapore and then to West Java before returning to the UK in 1993 where he opened the Royal Garden Hotel, after a major refurbishment, in 1995.

Bamford stepped down as general manager at the Royal Garden Hotel in March 2014, after 18 years at the helm, and is now dedicating his time to other areas of the industry. As one of the UK’s few Master Innholders and having been named an Honorary Doctor of the University of West London for services to The Hospitality Industry, Bamford is able to commit some of his time and expertise to the trainees working and graduating from The Clink Restaurants.

04/08/14The Clink Restaurant at HMP Cardiff extends opening times to increase prisoner training
by The Clink

We’ve decided to start opening The Clink Restaurant at HMP Cardiff for service every Wednesday and Friday evening and for Sunday lunch. These extended hours will enable us to expand the breadth of training for the prisoners by experiencing evening and weekend service.

You’ll now be able to enjoy the restaurant’s highly acclaimed food between 9.00am and 4.00pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and 9.00am to 9.30pm Wednesday and Friday. The restaurant is also now open on Sundays, for the first time ever, with a brand new Sunday lunch menu available from midday until 3.00pm.

The restaurant is also available for private bookings for a minimum of 25 guests, Monday to Friday evenings and bespoke menus can be created– perfect for a private party with a difference.

The 30 category D prisoners from HMP Prescoed and HMP Cardiff work a 40 hour week either in the kitchen or restaurant, training towards gaining nationally recognised City & Guilds NVQ qualifications before returning to their respective prisons at the end of each working day. They create seasonal dishes using a variety of local produce to champion the wealth of incredible ingredients found throughout Wales and the UK.

To book a table at The Clink Restaurant at HMP Cardiff please click here or call 029 2092 3130.

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04/08/14The Clink Gardens are flourishing and clucking
by The Clink

Chicken

With eight poly tunnels up and running we welcome the latest additions to The Clink Gardens at HMP Send – 49 Rhode Island Red chickens. Having settled in, their incredible egg laying abilities will provide plenty of fresh eggs.

The chickens are starting to produce free range eggs for use in both The Clink Restaurant at HMP High Down and HMP Brixton. Alongside looking after the chickens, the women prisoners training in horticulture in the gardens are also sowing, maintaining and harvesting fruit, vegetables, salad and herbs, all grown in the poly tunnels and gardens.

All produce is then transported in The Clink’s own refrigerated van, to The Clink Restaurants operating in the south east. The prisoners in training in the kitchens then use the ingredients to create the dishes on the menus resulting in fresh, flavoursome and seasonal food being served.

A full-time gardener trainer has now been appointed at The Clink Gardens to oversee the prisoners’ training and delivery of the City & Guilds horticulture qualifications. This structure aids the women in training, providing them with practical skills and education that can be used when finding employment upon their release.

To book a table at one of The Clink Restaurants please click here and complete the enquiry form.

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04/08/14Sir William Atkinson joins the board of trustees
by The Clink

We’re pleased to welcome Sir William Atkinson, retired head teacher, as the latest addition to our board of trustees. With vast experience within educational institutes William brings a wealth of knowledge to the charity.

His own interest in education was sparked by a teacher who ‘challenged’ him. Challenge is something he feels the value of and led to his involvement in some of the toughest schools in the UK. William was responsible for overcoming low results and the students’ bad behaviour whilst also managing the performance of the teachers and in 2008, after 13 years at the Phoenix High School, Ofsted inspectors praised his role in the continuing improvement of the Phoenix School.

Having completely ‘turned around’ the reputation of Phoenix High School near White City in London – a secondary school that was listed as one of the eight most challenging schools in England – William’s ability to deliver a learning programme in an efficient and effective way is second to none.

William has also been widely featured in the media, including the Channel 4 documentary series The Unteachables, Newsnight, Panorama, BBC Question Time, The One Show and Radio 4’s The House I Grew Up In.

A recognised and praised figure within the education system, William will strengthen The Clink’s board and aid the growth of the charity further, as he joins his fellow trustees.

Find out who else is involved with The Clink by clicking here.

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