Plans to open a third Clink training restaurant have been approved for HMP Brixton. The proposals put forward by architects Purcell will transform the Old Governors House within the prison grounds into a three-storey restaurant and meetings venue.
The three-storey building will be converted into a 100 seat restaurant and rooms for business meetings and working lunches. The restaurant accommodation is located on the ground floor and will be served by the professional kitchen that exists in the adjacent building. The two upper floors will comprise ancillary meeting spaces.
Built in the early 19th century, the Old Governors House is one of the oldest buildings at HMP Brixton prison. The grade II listed brick building has an unusual octagonal form that once provided 360º views of the 19th century airing yards. At ground floor level the octagonal form is offset from the upper levels to create an octagonal ‘skirt’ or ‘pentice’. More recently the building has been used primarily as administration offices.
The Clink Charity has already set up two restaurants which implement a five step programme to educate and equip prisoners with the skills to take up employment on their release. The first Clink restaurant, at HMP High Down in Surrey, opened in May 2009 and became an immediate success. A second restaurant opened at HMP Cardiff in September 2013.
Last year, The Clink Charity agreed a partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison Service (HMPS) who is supporting the charitable initiative in a bid to open a further seven Clink Restaurants over the next four years. The charity is solely reliant on donations and the income from diners.
Associate, Martin Dunseath from Purcell is leading the project, he commented:
“The new facility at HMP Brixton will follow The Clink’s Five Step Programme which has been successfully implemented at two other prisons. Purcell is pleased to have contributed by securing planning and listed building consent to support the Clink Charity in their aims, not only to help reduce reoffending, but also their wider endeavour to change the public perception of prison and the unique opportunities that can be created within them for effective rehabilitation.”
Edmond Tullett, Governor, HMP Brixton says:
“Brixton is more than delighted to host the third Clink training restaurant in the Regency Roundhouse which dates back to 1819. The restaurant will provide an unforgettable experience for customers and an unrivalled opportunity for prisoners to acquire marketable skills that will lead to local jobs and provide a pathway to a better life.”
Chris Moore, chief executive of The Clink Charity believes Brixton will cement the future for further Clink restaurants:
“Brixton was the perfect site for our next restaurant. HMP Brixton is undergoing a regeneration project and was looking for an organisation to work with to develop the building into an opportunity for rehabilitation. The central location lends itself to securing support from local businesses and members of the public, providing they are committed to The Clink’s vision and once the necessary security checks have been processed, providing real-life experience for those prisoners who make it through the selection process to join the programme.”
The restaurant is due to open to the public in early 2014.