Only A Pavement Away (OAPA), the charity that supports ex-offenders, vulnerable veterans and those having suffered homelessness into jobs within hospitality, has partnered with Fred Sirieix to launch the ‘Sponsor a Kitchen' campaign.
The charity is calling on employers in the industry to get involved in the programme and pledge funds to refit prison kitchens for the training to take place, with Gaucho already signed up to the project.
The Right Course transforms staff messes into functioning restaurants run by prisoners for the benefit of prison staff and external guests. Front of house, cooking and barista qualifications are delivered side by side with on-the-job training and exposure to employers. This prepares offenders for work in hospitality on their release.
The campaign will sit alongside the Right Course charity, currently being implemented in both HMP Isis and Wormwood Scrubs, with four further prisons are already in the pipeline. OAPA ambassador Tom Aikens will also be supporting the initiative.
Sirieix said: "This is an amazing opportunity for ex-offenders to turn their lives around and follow a new path to employment within hospitality. By partnering with Only A Pavement Away, we're able to not only support through facilities and training, but also find employers who are willing to participate in order to source suitable roles for the offenders once they're released and guide them on a positive path."
OAPA charity founder and chief executive Greg Mangham said: "We couldn't be happier to join forces with Fred who is such a powerhouse in the industry. This is an incredible opportunity for hospitality employers to support this programme from the ground up. As we all know, hospitality has arguably been the hardest hit industry during the pandemic, and for it to be able to make such a positive change in someone's life just goes to demonstrate the resilience and level of forward-thinking of the businesses we work with.
"It's so important that we're working with offenders from the earliest moment possible, and this programme does exactly that. We'd like to thank Fred for his valuable industry insight, and urge hospitality businesses to pledge funds to ensure the prison facilities are up to standard for this vital rehabilitation."
For any hospitality businesses wanting to participate in the programme, please get in touch with Mangham at firstname.lastname@example.org.