The story so far…

We have now launched our third Clink training restaurant at HMP Brixton.

The Clink Charity is one of the most successful industry and rehabilitation initiatives, in the drive to reduce re-offending.

The national reoffending rate of those who leave prison and reoffend within the first year is 46.9%. Since the very first Clink Restaurant launched in 2009 this has been reduced to 12.5% (verified 2011 rate).

So why is it a success?

We have developed a bespoke five step model that is a nuclear programme. Every step is managed by our own employees. This way there are no gaps for the prisoners to fall through and reoffend. We are in touch with the prisoners throughout their training and their employment and this has provided us with the tremendous success achieved to date.

Recruit – Train – Audit – Employ Mentor

This model is now the bedrock for our expansion and it has enabled us to explore other disciplines.

We have committed to operating 10 Clink projects by 2017.

Not only do the prisoners acquire academic qualifications during their time with us, but they also learn to work as part of a team under pressure, gain confidence, motivation and pride.

Without the hard work and commitment of everyone involved we would not have received the recognition and respect from the hospitality industry. To date we have received 22 awards including- a Catey Award for the best education and training programme in the UK 2011.

Our latest award is a 3 star award for Brixton from the sustainable restaurant association for our approach to sustainable practices.

Looking to the future

The Clink in partnership with HMPS is focused on being able to produce 500 graduates a year into an industry that has a major skills shortage by 2017.

We can only produce around 50 graduates a year per training unit. So in order to change more lives we require more Clink projects.

In November 2013 we launched Clink Events to provide external catering for cocktail parties and receptions in public venues and company premises by engaging with like minded charities such as The Centre Point Charity where we train their homeless clients food service skills.

Our model has enabled us to branch out into other disciplines such as horticulture and recycling at High Down.

To do this The Clink Charity needs to raise £4m – we therefore continue to rely on generous donations from grant making trusts, the general public and businesses.

The Clink Restaurants run at a deficit and we are extremely grateful to the 20,000 customers who visited our High Down and Cardiff restaurants last year. Our role is not only to educate our prisoners, but I would like to think that we also play a part in the education of our diners to change their perception of prisoners.