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4 London restaurants and cafés that care

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From prisoner rehabilitation to tackling homelessness with a great cuppa joe, these London businesses are doing things differently. 

The Clink

Whether you opt for vegetable gyozas, jerk chicken or BBQ pork, all the food at The Clink is cooked by prisoners, and served by prisoners. Located within Her Majesty’s Prison in Brixton, this is a high end foodie joint with rehabilitation at its core. 

The prisoners working in the groundbreaking eatery earn vocational  qualifications in hospitality and horticulture, paving the way to a fresh start. Now, over 60 awards and a couple of “The Clink” cookbooks later, it’s got one of the UK’s lowest reoffending rates.  

Luminary Bakery 

A safe space for women who have faced social and economic disadvantages, you’ll find Luminary Bakery in Hackney and Camden, offering letterbox treats, birthday cakes, vegan bakes and other sweet delights.

Learning transferable skills through the art of baking, the women also receive support and guidance, so they can empower themselves to build a brighter future. 

Waterhouse Restaurant 

Nestled on the banks of Regent’s canal, Hackney-based haunt the Waterhouse Restaurant uses food to help young people who have experienced adversity.

Big on emotional support, they teach their young chefs-in-training how to cook up a storm  – think good ol’ fry ups, risottos and sweet baked treats – while building their confidence to take on the bustling East London catering scene, or to return to education. 

Change Please 

Starting out as a single coffee cart in Covent Garden, Change Please now serves award-winning coffee from stands, carts and cafés across London. But as well as great coffee, they also provide barista training, a minimum wage, housing and further opportunities for people facing homeless. 

Sip on your coffee (there’s builders tea, matcha tea, mochas and more if coffee isn’t your thing) and you’ll be funding fantastic initiatives helping people out of homelessness.

Take Driving for Change – in response to a rise in people living without a home over the last few years, rough sleepers have been given access to essentials including GP consultations, dentists, showers and haircuts, all from two London buses, the idea being that a sustainable approach could help change lives for good.  

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