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The Clink celebrates five years of fine-dining prison restaurant success

PUBLISHED: 11:58 31 July 2014 | UPDATED: 12:13 31 July 2014

The Clink has surprised many with its success

The Clink has surprised many with its success

Archant

When it first opened five years ago, there were many who remained sceptical. A restaurant in a prison? The success of The Clink Restaurant at HMP High Down in Sutton has been such, however, that the prisoner training scheme has now been expanded to two more sites in Brixton and Cardiff.

Since the Surrey restaurant opened in 2009, almost 500 prisoners have been trained in cooking and front of house service and, in 2013 alone, 94 prisoners were trained and 53 qualified graduates were released into employment. It will be joined locally this summer by The Clink Gardens at HMP Send, near Ripley, a large-scale outdoor training facility that will provide the opportunity to grow, cultivate and harvest crops as well as rear chickens for their eggs.

“Over the past five years, we have achieved so much,” says Chris Moore, chief executive of The Clink Charity. “By the end of 2017, we will have 10 projects in operation allowing us to train and release more than 500 qualified prisoners into employment each year.

“It’s thanks to the hospitality industry, philanthropic individuals and generous organisations that we are able to grow our training efforts so successfully, so thank you to all those who have shown their support.”

Each diner that visits The Clink Restaurant at HMP High Down is providing the trainees with a true-to-life working environment that is essential for the continued development of the prisoners in training, allowing them to apply their experience and gain nationally recognised NVQ City and Guilds qualifications.

The Clink Restaurant at HMP High Down has achieved a verified reoffending rate of 12.5%, a dramatic reduction compared to the national average of 46.9%.

 

• For information on booking a table at The Clink, see theclinkrestaurant.com/book-now

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