Innovative rehabilitation initiative The Clink Charity was presented with the Centre for Social Justice’s (CSJ) ‘Social Enterprise Award’ at the CSJ Awards, held at Central Hall in Westminster on Tuesday 21 March 2017.

Celebrating the work of grassroots charities, the award recognises The Clink’s effective and innovative approach to reducing reoffending rates of ex-offenders through accredited hospitality training and education, with award sponsors Deutsche Bank’s enterprise programme for social good –Made for Good – donating a prize fund of £10,000 to support the charity’s ongoing commitment to prisoner rehabilitation.

Since launching in 2009, The Clink Charity has garnered unwavering recognition from the hospitality industry, philanthropic businesses and the world’s socially conscious diners, and the concept is expanding across Her Majesty’s Prison Estate as a result of this valuable support. With four restaurants currently in operation across the UK, at HMP High Down in Sutton, Surrey, HMP Cardiff, HMP Brixton and HMP Styal in Cheshire, prisoners working in the restaurants work a 40-hour week whilst training towards achieving City & Guilds NVQs in food preparation and food service to aid employment upon their release.

Quantifying the positive impact and contribution The Clink Charity makes on reoffending, a report conducted by Justice Data Lab and the Ministry of Justice in 2016 found that prisoners going through The Clink programme are 41% less likely to re-offend compared to prisoners of a similar circumstance who had not benefited from the scheme. Forming the foundation of its award-winning entry, this “statistically significant” result is testament to the charity’s continuous hard work and dedication to making a change through meaningful activity, training and education.

Commenting on the charity’s latest award success, Chris Moore, Chief Executive of The Clink Charity, said: “We’re honoured to be recognised at this year’s Centre for Social Justice Awards for the ‘Social Enterprise’ category. It really does make the team’s incredible hard work and determination to expand The Clink’s prisoner training concept across the prison estate worth the while.

“The issue of reoffending has become one of the most pressing challenges facing society today and it’s more important than ever that we look at ways to reduce reoffending rates and give more people a chance to transform their life for the benefit of themselves, their family and society as a whole.

“For our work to be honoured by receiving this award is testament to the passion and dedication of the entire team so thank you. Thanks must also go to Deutsche Bank who sponsored our category and donated the £10,000 prize fund. We will use the money to set up a Clink Support Workers Release Fund which will provide financial support to our graduates as they re-enter society, gain employment and find their independence. Many challenges are faced by those leaving prison, from securing accommodation to finding appropriate clothing for a job interview. Our support workers will use this fund to help Clink Graduates as they start their life away from crime.”

Andy Cook, Chief Executive of the Centre for Social Justice, added: “The Clink is a brilliant example of a charity that achieves transformative change by providing the gift of practical and meaningful education. Not only does the charity enable individuals to turn their lives around; it benefits wider society by reducing the taxpayer bill and preventing more people becoming victims of crime.

“Speaking at the Centre for Social Justice earlier this year, the Justice Secretary Liz Truss said the best way to reduce the prison populations was by cutting recidivism. The Clink is helping to achieve exactly that. It is a thoroughly deserving winner of this award.”

With The Clink Gardens and Clink Events adding to its four prisoner training restaurants and a further three projects due to be announced over the next 12 months, the charity is on track to achieve its target of 20 prisoner training projects in operation by the end of 2020. This will see more than 1,000 highly trained graduates released into employment each year, helping to address the UK’s hospitality skills shortage by providing those who deserve a second chance the opportunity to transform the lives of themselves and their families.

To find out more about The Clink Charity, its prisoner training restaurants and schemes, and how you can get involved, please visit www.theclinkcharity.org.