A charity running restaurants in prisons has relaunched its home delivery service from HMP Brixton.
The Clink Charity, which aims to lower reoffending rates, rebooted the [email protected] service on March 3, having suspended it in January because of Covid-19 precautions.
The programme has allowed prisoners to continue training for their City and Guilds NVQ in food preparation and cookery, despite the temporary closure of Clink’s restaurants during the pandemic.
Customers that live within a five-mile radius can order from a three-course menu, with mains ranging from chicken katsu curry to Korean BBQ pork.
One of four restaurants in Surrey, Cheshire, and Cardiff respectively, more than 2,000 meals have been dispatched from HMP Brixton since the scheme started in July 2020.
PR and marketing manager Gemma Slater said the charity has had to adapt to survive during the pandemic, with many staff furloughed and most in-prison training cancelled.
She said: “We’ve been very busy in the community working with our 142 Clink graduates ensuring they have accommodation and food as well as helping them either keep or find full time employment.
“If it wasn’t for our generous funders made up of philanthropic individuals, grant-maintaining trusts and the government’s job retention scheme, it could have been a very different picture as almost all of our sales income stopped overnight.
“The training programme has also given the students to chance to continue working together and building their soft skills like teamwork and customer service.”
The charity hopes that regular training will be able to resume again in May or June, allowing Clink students to pursue their NVQs, ready for employment in hospitality sectors on release.
A study by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) stated that 75% of former prisoners in the UK reoffend within nine years of release, 39.3% doing so within a year.
Clink’s overarching aim is to lower these rates, and research conducted by the Justice Data Lab and the Ministry of Justice in July 2019 stated that prisoners who participated in the charity’s programmes are 32% less likely to offend than those who did not.
Following the announcement of a new programme, Clink Kitchens, Christopher Moore, chief executive at the charity, said: “Reoffending remains one of the most pressing challenges facing society today. The economic and social cost of reoffending is £18.1bn per annum.
“The Clink in partnership with HMPPS changes attitudes, transforms lives and creates second chances by training serving prisoners during their sentence and then helping them reintegrate back into society, employment and accommodation upon release.”
Lucy Frazer, Prisons Minister and MP for South East Cambridgeshire, said: “This expansion of the catering programme is testament to the thousands of training and job opportunities it has provided for offenders over the years.
“Cutting reoffending and its vast cost to society is a priority for this government. Training within prison leads to employment on release, which we know has such a positive impact on ex-offenders, their families and communities, and ultimately reduces crime.”
Those wishing to order food for home delivery can do so here.
Featured image credit: The Clink Charity