Dartmouth Apprentice, a training restaurant set up to help the long-term unemployed, has been forced to close resulting in the loss of six full-time jobs.
Staff at the Devon restaurant were told on Thursday morning that they were being made redundant, four days before it was due to reopen after the Christmas and New Year Break.
But the operation, which was set up five years ago by London-based Training for Life charity, could still be saved if another charity stepped in to take it on.
Restaurant manager Nina Stanesby (pictured) told the Dartmouth Chronicle](http://www.dartmouth-today.co.uk) that the business had not gone into ‘administration' or ‘liquidation' and had been profitable right up until the end.
It has been on the edge of closure for some time following the collapse of Training for Life into administration almost three months ago.
Other training restaurants run through the charity at Hoxton and Barking were closed almost immediately but Dartmouth Apprentice was allowed to continue operating.
Stanesby said there had been other charities hoping to step in and take over the restaurant but the complicated legal situation had made this very difficult and expressed a hope that one might do so now.
"'Last year we had our most profitable year. We have become a venue for wedding receptions and large parties."
The restaurant has helped more than 150 apprentices since it opened, including one who went on to work for celebrity chef Mitch Tonks in his Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth.
Open seven days a week in the on-season and five days a week in the off-season, the restaurant also boasted an 80% success rate in getting its apprentices back into full-time employment or education.
Covenants and legal issues linked to the way Dartmouth Apprentice was originally funded mean that the operation, including its state of the art equipment, could not be sold off as a commercial restaurant.
Stanesby, along with head chef Darren Winn, second chef Mark Westerndorp, house manager Mandy Abraham and front of house supervisors Abigail York and Craig Wiltshire, who have been helping to train out-of-work people, are now out of work themselves.
Charity's collapse forces Hoxton Apprentice to seek buyer >>
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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