Inspired by the chef, Al Crisci and Kate Quigley-Ruby, the Clink charity started in Highdown Prison in 2009. The Rank Foundation remains very proud of being one of the first to fund this successful project with a £50K grant to help develop and launch the programme.
A Unique Model
The Clink model is based on operating a commercial restaurant, within the prison estate, providing training for carefully selected prisoners to develop the skills and expertise to help secure employment: the sole aim is to reduce reoffending rates of ex-offenders. They work in close partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison Service to run projects that train and give practical skills to prisoners to aid their rehabilitation, allowing prisoners to learn, engage with the public and take their first steps towards a new life. Most leave with nationally recognised City & Guilds NVQ qualifications along with considerable hands-on experience gained from working in these exceptional restaurants.
The Rank Foundation pledged a further £60K towards establishing a much needed (and now embedded) mentoring programme, to help those leaving prison to make a successful transition to a new and more productive life. Under the direction of Finlay Scott, the Chairman, and Chris Moore, the CEO, the Clink model continues to thrive, with this truly innovative approach to rehabilitation.
Now at five locations: Highdown, Cardiff, Brixton, Send (in Surrey, with the gardens project) and, most recently, at Styal in Cheshire, Clink now covers both the male and female estate. With the opening of Styal, the charity now offers 150+ training places at any one time, and in 2014, 40 graduates from Highdown and Brixton will have secured secured full time employment on their release from prison.
The partnership continues to grow, as more prison sites are identified. CLINK is also working with Centrepoint and young homeless people, whilst CLINK Events, a new business, looks to provide off site catering to a wide range of London venues. These award winning restaurants are open to the public and many provide excellent meeting facilities, with all offering outstanding food with contemporary menus. Clink also offers event catering across London. But the thing that matters most is the opportunity to offer one of their graduates a job: in this there is still more work to be done. theclinkcharity.org – to find out more.
A graduated GAP Youth Worker for The Edge Project in Bradford