The sole aim of The Clink Charity is to reduce the reoffending rates of ex-offenders by providing formal training that enables prisoners to gain nationally recognised qualifications and to then help graduates find jobs in the hospitality industry. The first Clink restaurant opened in 2009 at HMP High Down in Surrey and since then the charity has grown considerably. It now runs a number of training restaurants, two gardens and an event catering service and ultimately aims to produce 500 graduates a year by the end of 2017 into an industry that has a major skills shortage.
In 2015, 133 prisoners were trained, 95 gained NVQ qualifications, 63 were placed into employment and a fourth restaurant was opened at HMP Styal women’s prison in Cheshire. In October 2015, HMP Brixton was winner of the Observer Food Monthly’s Best Ethical Restaurant and in November The Clink Canapé Cookbook was launched, representing another milestone for the charity.
The Clink at HMP Cardiff that opened to the public in September 2012 was the first to be sited outside prison walls. It is particularly recognised as a flagship example of this unique charitable project and was listed last year on TripAdvisor as the 3rd best restaurant in Cardiff and the 10th best restaurant in the UK.
The Weavers Company is proud to have been able to award a grant to The Clink in 2013 to purchase a walk-in cold room, hot pass and glasswasher to help fit out the kitchen at HMP Brixton.