Housing

Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck among 500 restaurants raising money for homeless people

The StreetSmart sees restaurants add a voluntary £1 to diners' bills, raising millions for homelessness charities across the UK

Over 540 restaurants are taking part in the StreetSmart campaign raising money for homeless people. Image: StreetSmart

Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin star restaurant The Fat Duck and London institution The River Cafe are among those raising money to support homeless people this winter.

More than 540 restaurants, pubs and hotels across the UK have signed up to support StreetSmart’s annual campaign throughout November and December. A voluntary £1 is added to diners’ bills, which is then donated to homelessness charities.

Others taking part include Harvey Nichols and Selfridges in London, Mana in Manchester, The Palmerston in Edinburgh and Carters of Moseley in Birmingham.

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Chef Jeremy Lee from Quo Vadis in Soho said he has admired the campaign since its inception.

“StreetSmart’s secret is that it’s dead simple,” he said. “Today we can feel far too busy and serious to do anything, but with this tiny effort you can end up with a large lump sum after Christmas. It’s a small gesture for a big problem.”

Adam and Natasha Stokes, from Adams Restaurant in Birmingham, said: “Being based in the centre of Birmingham we see first-hand the effects of 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.”

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StreetSmart has raised over £11.2 million since it was founded in 1998, and now operates in 24 cities across the UK. Over 50 homelessness charities benefit each year, with funds supporting services like the creation of beds, housing, mental health support and training and job support. 

One of the groups being supported is The Soup Kitchen at the American Church in central London, who provide free meals, clothing and toiletries for around 150 homeless and vulnerable people every day.

They also have an on site mental health drop-in, and rely on hundreds of volunteers a year to help run the service, including chef and StreetSmart ambassador Monica Galetti.

Galetti said: “Homelessness is something we see on the streets every day in London, and so when we opened our restaurant nearby we were keen to give back to the local community. If we can help a little by running StreetSmart and occasionally volunteering then that’s the least we can do. We only receive positive feedback from our staff and guests, who are happy to give to such a worthwhile cause.”

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