Brigade Bar & Bistro rewarded for training the homeless

By Melodie Michel contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf CBE with Beyond Food Foundation and Brigade Bar & Bistro winners of the Community Partners Award
Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf CBE with Beyond Food Foundation and Brigade Bar & Bistro winners of the Community Partners Award

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London restaurant Brigade Bar & Bistro has won a Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for training homeless people to become chefs.

Located in a historic fire station on Tooley Street, the Brigade is a partnership between charity Beyond Food Foundation, PwC (owner) and De Vere Venues (manager). It won the Community Partners Award for its work with people at risk of or having experienced homelessness.

The restaurant’s chef training programme, which focuses on team work, communication, professionalism and the fundamentals of nutrition, health and wellbeing, allows those on the scheme to get into certified apprenticeships, gain real work experience within the restaurant’s kitchens, and ultimately become employable within the hospitality sector.

Chef careers

Since its opening in 2011 Brigade Bar & Bistro has provided a training space for 240 people and employed 61 kitchen apprentices, who have progressed into industry work placements to complete the NVQ Level 2 in professional cookery before starting chef careers at restaurants including the Savoy, Swan at the Globe and Plateau.

The restaurant has also attracted high-profile guests such as Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson and HRH Prince Andrew.  

Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf said: “Since the launch of the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards nearly three decades ago, there has been a marked change in business approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR).  It is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it is a ‘must have’.

“We all recognise that human investment is a vital precursor to good commercial investment.  So we celebrate the growing ambition of business to create long-term value for their workforce, and for wider society. This is an exceptional example of how a scheme has successfully engaged with unemployed people to give them skills that will empower them to change their future.”   

Corporate Social Responsibility

The Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards are the UK's oldest CSR awards (established 27 years ago), and recognise the contribution by London businesses in sharing their skills and expertise with charities and community groups for a lasting impact.

Together, this year’s applicants supported more than 200,000 individuals across London, with 166,242 hours – equivalent to £1.2m – invested into projects.

2014 winners, announced on Wednesday 1 October, include:

  • Hogan Lovells​ - The Lord Mayor’s Award for Longstanding Achievement
  • GL Hearn​ – Winner of the Strengthening the Third Sector
  • Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work​ – Enterprise and Employment Award:
  • Dovetail Furniture​ – Winner of the Heart of the City Award for Best New Community Programme
  • Slaughter and May​ – Winner of the  Education Award 

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