|The Clink Restaurants|
|Established||May 11, 2009|
|Food type||European cuisine|
|Street address||HM Prison High Down|
|Postal/ZIP Code||SM2 5PJ|
|Other locations||The Clink Brixton (London), The Clink Cardiff (Wales) and The Clink Styal (Wilmslow)|
The Clink Restaurant concept was founded by Alberto Crisci in 2009 and are a major part of The Clink Charity's prisoner rehabilitation initiatives. The charity aims to break the cycle of crime by changing attitudes, creating second chances and reducing reoffending rates.
Each prisoner who works in a Clink Restaurant studies for accredited NVQs in food preparation, food service and cleaning. Whilst working in a Clink Restaurant prisoners gain experience within an operational business and receive in-depth guidance to find full-time employment within the hospitality industry upon release.
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The first Clink Restaurant opened in 2009 at HMP High Down in Surrey, when Alberto Crisci, then catering manager, identified the need for formal training, qualifications and support for prisoners in finding a job after release. Crisci was supported by then-Governor of HMP High Down, Peter Dawson, and founder trustees Finlay Scott, Kevin McGrath, Lady Edwina Grosvenor, Tim Wates and Kate Quigley-Ruby.
In 2010, Christopher Moore was appointed the charity's first CEO as part of a long-term plan to expand the prisoner training concept across Her Majesty's Prison Service. Within this role Christopher Moore focuses on increasing awareness of the work and skills being developed across The Clink training schemes as well as garnering support from the catering industry and securing the necessary funds for expansion.
The second restaurant opened at HMP Cardiff in September 2012. This was the first Clink restaurant to be located outside prison walls. It works alongside HMP Prescoed to offer over 30 Category D prisoners from HMP Prescoed and HMP Cardiff full-time work within the kitchen and restaurant.
In November 2013, Clink Events was launched by the charity to provide external catering for cocktail parties and dinner receptions. Canapés are freshly prepared by prisoners in the central production kitchen at HMP Downview which opened in October 2018.
The third Clink Restaurant opened at HMP Brixton in February 2014. The Brixton restaurant follows The Clink's Five Step Programme, which has been successfully implemented at both of the previous Clink Restaurants, to educate prisoners and equip them with the skills and tools to secure employment upon their release.
In May 2014, The Clink entered into a women's prison for the first time, launching The Clink Gardens at HMP Send, Surrey. The project provides prisoners with the opportunity to gain experience and City & Guilds NVQs in horticulture. Prisoners grow, cultivate and harvest crops and rear chickens for eggs. The produce is transported to The Clink Restaurants at other prisons for use in the training kitchens.
Building started in September 2014 at the fourth prisoner training restaurant, The Clink Restaurant at HMP Styal in Cheshire, to transform the century old, disused chapel within the prison grounds into a 100-seat restaurant with private dining spaces for up to 24 people.
The Clink Restaurant at HMP Styal officially opened to the public on 30 April 2015 as the first Clink Restaurant in a women's prison and the first in the north of England.
The Clink Restaurants are registered catering colleges regulated by OFSTED, who gave 'outstanding' reports following visits to High Down (2012 / 2015) and Brixton (2015).
Giles Coren, columnist and restaurant critic for The Times visited the Brixton restaurant and wrote: "The Clink is doing great things for prisons, people, local communities and the reputation of Britain���s catering industry, and I salute it unreservedly."
The Clink's Five Step Programme – Recruit, Train, Support, Employ and Mentor – aims to dramatically reduce the reoffending rate of those who have completed the training programme.
Prisoners with six to 18 months of their sentence left to serve are recruited for the programme and receive full-time training in order to reach the required level to succeed in the hospitality industry upon release.
Whilst the food tries to offer a contemporary twist on traditional British cuisine, with each menu being designed around locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, the restaurants also intend to provide an educational insight into the positive effect of rehabilitation and helps change public perceptions of prisoners.
The Clink Restaurant at HMP High Down was officially opened in 2009, as the first public restaurant to open within a UK prison. Sitting within the walls of the category B prison, the restaurant seats 94 diners whilst also offering a private dining room for exclusive hire which seats 20. A projector and AV facilities are also available for meetings, conferences and presentations.
Up to 30 prisoners at a time work a 40-hour week, training towards gaining nationally recognised City & Guilds NVQs in food preparation and food and beverage service, before returning to their cells in the evening.
The Clink building was originally built as the visitor check-in centre for friends and family visiting prisoners at HMP Cardiff and was also used as a staff mess, but had been left vacant for a few years before The Clink Charity were granted use of it. The Clink Charity took possession of the building in January 2012 and spent eight months converting it into The Clink Restaurant, adding an outdoor seating area and an open plan kitchen.
30 category D prisoners from HMP Prescoed, Usk, are transported to The Clink restaurant each morning where they work a 40-hour week, gaining nationally recognised City & Guilds NVQs in food preparation and food and beverage service, before returning to the prison at the end of the working day.
The Clink Restaurant at HMP Brixton opened in February 2014 as the third restaurant operated by The Clink Charity in the UK. The restaurant sits within the walls of HMP Brixton, a category C prison, and seats 120 diners. It is located within the old Governor's House, built in 1819.
Because of its location, no metal cutlery is used, or alcohol served. Customers are required to pass security-checks.
The restaurant also offers five private dining rooms available for hire, as well as conference facilities.
In 2019 a survey by Justice Data Lab found that re-offending rates for those trained in the Brixton restaurant were only 11%, in comparison with 32% for prisoners not involved in the project. 
The Clink Restaurant at HMP Styal sits within the grounds of the women's prison and seats 120 diners. The Clink Charity, in partnership with HMPS, converted the disused St Andrews chapel that was built in 1915 into The Clink restaurant. The chapel was used by prisoners for weekly services until it became just a storage area.
In September 2014 work started to refurbish the chapel and transform it into a stylish dining space complete with vaulted ceiling, original organ pipes and stained glass windows. In April 2015 the restaurant officially opened its doors to the public as the first Clink Restaurant to open in a prison for women. The old prison chapel now offers the facilities for up to 30 women prisoners to work a 40-hour week whilst gaining nationally recognised City & Guilds NVQs in food preparation and food and beverage service.
Two private dining rooms are available for exclusive hire which can seat between 8 and 20 people. A projector and AV facilities are available for small businesses and groups to hold meetings, lunches and events. The entire venue is available for exclusive hire on evenings and weekends.
Clink Events launched in 2014 to offer external catering services for private cocktail parties and receptions. Food is prepared by prisoners in training, before being delivered in refrigerated vehicles to the event venue.
The Clink Cafe opened in May 2018 as the first project off prison grounds for the charity. The cafe is set in a Grade II listed building called Canada House, owned by Kinrise, on Chepstow Street in the heart of Manchester's city centre.
- Liberty Kitchen, a social enterprise based at Pentonville Prison
- Rehabilitation (penology)
- Social integration
- CulinaryCorps, an American organisation of cooking and philanthropy
- "Lady Edwina Grosvenor inspires sixth formers at former school". www.ellesmere.com. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
- "The Clink - Prison Fine Dining Restaurant". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
- "Cardiff's prisoner-run The Clink in UK's top 10 restaurants". BBC News. 14 October 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- Sean Coughlan (1 August 2019). "Prison restaurant serves up cut in reoffending". BBC News. Retrieved 2 August 2019.