A prison in south London has started selling takeaway meals in a bid to keep prisoners on course for getting their cooking qualifications during lockdown.
Brixton prison runs a professional-standard restaurant, The Clink, within the prison walls: an initiative set up to help inmates get professional City and Guild qualifications.
The restaurant teaches culinary skills to prisoners to help them get jobs when they are released and cut reoffending rates – a move which the Ministry of Justice estimates has reduced taxpayer spending on reoffending by £38m since it began.
But the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic has stopped guests from coming to the prison to eat in the restaurant, which is situated in the former governor’s house, so they have instead decided to take their cooking on the road.
The takeaway service, named [email protected] is only available in the five mile radius around Brixton prison (including Crystal Palace, Mitcham, Camberwell, Putney, Battersea, Westminster, Fulham and Mayfair).
Orders can be placed for deliveries each week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 10:00-17:00 with a two-hour delivery slot confirmed on the day, and will be brought to your door in the restaurant’s van.
The menu includes dishes such as a starter of sundried tomato and parmesan arancini with rocket pesto (£3.95), sea bream en papillote with Meditteranen vegetables and salsa verde as a main course (£9), and summer fruit crumble with creme anglaise.
The menu includes vegetarian and vegan dishes, and Chris Moore, chief executive of the Clink charity, says for the first week the most popular has been jerk chicken and katsu curry.
After starting last week the service has all booking slots booked for this week.
All the food prepared in Clink kitchens, where possible is British, fresh, local and seasonal and everything is made from scratch.
And the vegetables, salad and eggs come from The Clink Gardens located at HMP Send where the women in training work towards gaining their City and Guilds NVQ level 2 in horticulture.
Moore says the project is “investing in someone’s future. They get a chance to get their life back on track and not be a burden on society. It’s giving someone a second chance”.
The Clink operates restaurants in four prisons across England and Wales including Brixton, Cardiff, High Down, Manchester, and Cheshire.