The Clink Charity is opening a central production kitchen at HMP Downview in May to support Clink Events.
The charity will be expanding its rehabilitation training into a sixth UK prison, HMP Downview for women in Surrey, through the launch of a dedicated central production kitchen for its external events catering service.
Chris Moore, chief executive of the Clink Charity, said: “To date the food preparation for external events has been done through the restaurant kitchens. However, due to the success of the events, we now need to increase capacity to prepare food for these for events across London and the surrounding areas.”
The kitchen is being jointly funded by the Clink Charity and Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS), as well as grant-making trusts and philanthropists, and is also being supported by industry equipment suppliers.
Designed by Duncan Hepburn from Hepburn Associations, the kitchen will include a private dining room overlooking the kitchen with a chef’s table seating up to 20 people. Approximately 50 prisoners per year will gain NVQs in food safety and food preparation through training at the kitchen.
Clink Events, which launched in 2014, offers catering services for public events at venues including Guildhall in London. Food is prepared by prisoners training for their Level 2 City and Guilds NVQs in food safety, food preparation and food and beverage service.
Graduates of the charity’s rehabilitation programme, in partnership with enterprises such as Centrepoint, a charity for homeless young people, serve guests at the events while training for a City and Guilds Level 1 NVQ in hospitality.
Robin Eldridge, governor of HMP Downview, said: “The practical work the women will undertake through the Clink, both within the prison and on temporary release, will improve their chances of obtaining paid employment on release and help them make a valuable contribution to their communities.”
The new kitchen project will follow The Clink’s five-step rehabilitation programme (Recruit – Train – Support – Employ – Mentor) and training will be overseen by Jonathan Whitfield, general manager trainer, and Christa Janse Van Rensburg, head chef trainer.
The Clink opened its first restaurant at HMP High Down in Surrey in 2009 and now runs restaurants in HMP Cardiff, HMP Brixton in London, HMP Send in Surrey and HMP Styal in Cheshire. The charity is also set to open a new café in Manchester next month.
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