The CLINK Restaurant at HM Prison Brixton, 09 July 2015
On a sunny Wednesday in early July 2015, some twenty members of the congregation of The Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London and friends went to Brixton Prison for lunch at The Clink Restaurant. This remarkable venture provides prisoners with training in hospitality skills, from waiting at table to cooking sophisticated dishes, and enables them to find work on release. Reoffending amongst prisoners is a major concern and whereas the normal rate of recidivism is over 50%, the percentage amongst graduates of The Clink’s scheme is around 12%.
There are now four Clink Restaurants, at HM Prisons High Down, Cardiff, Brixton and Styal. The Brixton Prison restaurant occupies the 200 year-old former residence of the Governor. Its modern interior has been created by prisoners themselves, who built the furniture and created the impressive artworks on the walls. The vegetables and the eggs used in the recipes are produced from hens tended by the women inmates at Send Prison, so that the enterprise helps to train prisoners in a range of skills. Those who follow the hospitality skills route can acquire NVQ qualifications which equip them for life back in the community. The organisation behind The Clink restaurants assists them to find work placements on release and provides them with mentoring to ease their passage back into life outside prison.
It was a fascinating and enjoyable outing, which we heartily recommend to anyone thinking of organising a weekday lunch with a difference.
You can learn more about The Clink Charity and how to help their good work by visiting their website here.