StreetSmart: 2021 diners raise £696,000 for homelessness charity

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Support the cause: Fay Maschler, the Evening Standard’s former restaurant critic (centre), attends the StreetSmart event in Clerkenwell  (Handout)
Support the cause: Fay Maschler, the Evening Standard’s former restaurant critic (centre), attends the StreetSmart event in Clerkenwell (Handout)

Almost £700,000 was raised by diners in just two months in aid of StreetSmart, the charity as confirmed, with the funds set to support those experiencing homelessness.

In November and December last year, patrons at 512 restaurants generated £696,000 by asking for £1-per-table donations, with top-raiser Soho House Group drumming up £69,000 alone, while MEATliquour was able to raise £28,000 to add to the grand total.

Last night, supporters of StreetSmart — including the Evening Standard’s former restaurant critic Fay Maschler, its current chief restaurant critic Jimi Famurewa and Reveller editor David Ellis, all of whom support the charity — gathered at Sessions Arts Club in Clerkenwell to mark the achievement. Others in the restaurant-world crowd included Quo Vadis chef-proprietor Jeremy Lee, MEATliquour owner Scott Collins, Brutto restaurateur Russell Norman and Sessions Arts Club co-founder Jon Spiteri, there with his son Fin Spiteri, who recently opened floating restaurant Caraval.

“I am so happy to be reviewing restaurants again, so thrilled for those that have come through the pandemic and cheered by new endeavours coming to fruition,” said Maschler, who won an award for her years of sustained support for the charity. “My connection with StreetSmart goes back to its inception — as impressed then by its fluent simplicity as I am now.”

A number of the country’s Michelin-starred establishments were also involved, with 56 restaurants, from London’s the River Café and St John to Adam’s in Birmingham, contributing to the cause.

“We are delighted to support StreetSmart charity since 2013,” said Adam and Natasha Stokes of Adam’s, which generated £2,000 thanks to its diners, a figure matched by the restaurant’s owners. “Being based in the centre of Birmingham we have seen first-hand how the pandemic has affected homelessness. The past 24 months has been devastating for so many which has only created more need for these vital funds. Everyone deserves to live in a safe and stable home.”

StreetSmart was founded 24 years ago and has raised more than £11m in that time, with 100 per cent of the funds going towards those in need, thanks to its campaign costs being covered by property industry charity LandAid. In a speech delivered on the evening, LandAid deputy CEO Alice Lamb thanked those in the crowd “for being a LandAid legend and a Streetsmart superstar — which is quite hard to say after a few glasses of fizz!”

Lamb added that the money raised by Streetsmart would in part go towards building some 40 properties for those in need, and later said: “LandAid are proud of the special relationship that we have with StreetSmart, and it has been amazing to see such enthusiasm within the hospitality and property industries in supporting the campaign, particularly after some testing years. I thoroughly thank everyone who added that £1 to their bill. This small choice will create huge impact in helping support homelessness projects that bring both relief and security to those who need it most across the country.”

For more information and to make a donation, visit streetsmart.org.uk

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