Fantastic food from one of the most unusual restaurants

The issue of reoffending has become one of the most pressing challenges facing society today. It is now recognised that the record levels of inmates in prison is not helping to reduce crime.

The sole aim of The Clink Charity is to reduce reoffending rates of ex-offenders by training and placing graduates, upon their release, into employment in the hospitality industry.

In May 2009 the first Clink Restaurant officially opened at HMP High Down as the first public restaurant within the walls of a working prison.

The original vision remains true today: to break the cycle of crime by empowering prisoners with self-belief, work place skills and nationally recognised qualifications.

Prisoners working at The Clink Restaurant work a 40-hour week whilst gaining City & Guilds NVQs in food preparation and, front-of-house service. Simulating a professional working environment, prisoners with six to 18 months of their sentence left to serve are carefully selected for the programme, going through full-time training in order to reach the required level to succeed in their industry.

The Clink Charity’s dedicated mentors work closely with each of the prisoners in the final three months of their sentence and beyond. Upon release, the mentors help graduates find employment, and once successfully employed they visit them weekly for six to 12 months, to help them reintegrate back into society.

Dining at The Clink Restaurant is a memorable experience where service is second to none and the food offers a contemporary twist on traditional British cuisine. The menus are creatively designed around the changing seasons and showcase the incredible talent of the prisoners in training and the fantastic ingredients available in Surrey.

The Clink Gardens launched in 2014 at HMP Send in Woking and provide women prisoners the opportunity to gain work experience and achieve City & Guilds NVQs in horticulture. Many of the fruit, vegetables and herbs grown in the gardens are delivered to The Clink Restaurant, along with eggs from the chickens the women are also responsible for, and used to create the seasonally changing menus.

Clink Events was launched in 2015 to offer bespoke catering for private events within the south east and provides the prisoners in training the opportunity to gain additional experience in event catering.

The Clink Charity currently has four restaurants, two gardens and an event catering service in operation across the prison estate with a target of having 20 prisoner training projects up and running by 2020. This target will see more than 1,000 highly trained and qualified professionals enter employment, upon their release, each year.  |  @TheClinkCharity

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