More than 600 restaurants, including the River Café, Core by Clare Smyth (pictured) and Barrafina, are to support the StreetSmart campaign this year, aimed at raising money for vulnerable and homeless people.
The campaign, which has just launched, raises funds for people in local communities during November and December, with a focus on youth homelessness and food poverty.
Participating restaurants will add £1 to diners' bills during the festive months. So far, StreetSmart has raised nearly £10m since its foundation in 1998, enabling it to support charities, hostels and projects that help those living on the streets and in unsuitable accommodation. The money is spent in the local area where it was raised.
This year, StreetSmart have teamed up with LandAid, the property industry charity to help deliver its 2019 programme, with a joint mission to end youth homelessness in the UK. Two charities the campaign will support this year include the Felix Project, which collects surplus food from suppliers and delivers it for free to charities across London, and Shelter from the Storm, which provides emergency night shelter in London for 24 men and 16 women, which operates every night of the year and now includes a community café and shop.
The cities/regions taking part in StreetSmart this year are: Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cambridge, Bedford, Oxford, Southend, Bristol, Bath, Brighton and Hove, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset and Cornwall.
Monica Galetti, chef-patron of Mere restaurant, said: "Anything we can do to alleviate the pain of homelessness, especially at this time of year, is worthwhile. With StreetSmart it is so easy and 100% of the money raised goes direct to people most in need."
Actor, author and comedian Stephen Fry added: "Every year StreetSmart grows as more and more restaurants catch onto the simplicity and splendour of the idea. Britain has been enriched by the quality of its restaurants over the last twenty years more than at any other time in its history, and through StreetSmart the restaurateur, chefs and their patrons help to enrich the lives of those caught in the misery of homelessness. We may not be able to solve the problem but at least by doing something we, in some way, diminish its tyranny."
Data collated by CHAIN (combined Homelessness and Information Network) shows that a record 3,985 people slept rough across the capital from July to September 2019 – a 28% increase year on year.