Streetsmart: London restaurants back plan to raise £500,000 for homeless charity

·2-min read
MEATliquor  ( )
MEATliquor ( )

London restaurants are backing an ambitious plan to raise half-a-million pounds for a homelessness charity.

Venues including St John, Quo Vadis and MEATliquor, as well as restaurants within Harvey Nichols and The Dorchester, are all supporting the StreetSmartcampaign — despite fear of further restrictions on hospitality.

The initiative asks for diners to contribute £1 on top of their bill, with all the money going to help those most in need at Christmas.

So far this year, StreetSmart has raised an estimated £370,000 and hopes to get to £500,000 to make up for the drop in funds it suffered due to the Christmas lockdown last year.

Among the names supporting the campaign are Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver from St John.

They said: “We’re delighted to have this direct conduit to helping our London community.”

The charity has raised more than £10 million since it was founded by publisher William Sieghart and former Groucho Club director Mary-Lou Sturridge in 1998. The money benefits more than 50 homelessness charities every year and helps to pay for everything from a bed for the night to job support.

Tom Booton, head chef at The Grill at The Dorchester, said: “StreetSmart is doing fantastic work and is an important initiative for us to be involved in to help tackle homelessness, especially at such a crucial and difficult time.”

It is also supported by other industry figures including former Evening Standard chief restaurant critic Fay Maschler, who said: “ I am so happy to be reviewing restaurants again, so thrilled for those that have come through the pandemic. My connection with StreetSmart goes back to its inception and I was as impressed then by its fluent simplicity as I am now.”

The campaign’s commitment to the £500,000 target comes as figures show more than 2,500 people are thought to be sleeping rough in the capital.

The effect of the pandemic is seen in statistics from the latest Greater London Authority quarterly report which identified 1,177 people who were sleeping rough for the first time.

Restaurants that want to sign up to the StreetSmart initiative can do so at streetsmart.org.uk.

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