The Clink Charity, which currently operates training restaurants at Cymru and High Down prisons, has announced plans to open its third site, at HMP Brixton.
The charity, which aims to reduce re-offending rates of ex-offenders by training and placing graduates upon their release into the hospitality industry, secured planning permission for its third site yesterday and will now move forward with plans to transform the prison's old Governors house into a three-storey restaurant and meetings venue to open early next year.
HMP Brixton governor Edmond Tullett said: “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.”
In 2012 The Clink, which is overseen by chief executive Chris Moore, agreed a partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison Service (HMPS) to open a further seven Clink Restaurants over the next four years and Moore said Brixton was the 'perfect site' for its next venue.
"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," he said.
Moore confirmed to BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Report yesterday that plans were underway to have 10 restaurants by 2017 and he said he had visited another three sites that may be suitable for a Clink restaurant.
In addition to a 100-cover restaurant, The Clink at HMP Brixton will also include rooms for business meetings and working lunches on hire to companies in the area.
The Clink restaurants, which operate as normal restaurants but within a secure environment, served 15,000 diners last year, giving prisoners the chance to gain food preparation, food service and cleaning qualifications as well as experience within a fully-operational business.