A new restaurant is on a mission to offer locally-sourced, contemporary Middle Eastern-inspired dishes. But that’s not its only goal – it’s helping disadvantaged people out of homelessness too.
Ebury, the south London restaurant opened by catering company and social enterprise Fat Macy’s, is helping trainees earn a deposit to move out of temporary housing such as hostels and into a permanent rented home. Professional chefs train those recruited onto the 200-hour programme, with valuable work experience in front-of-house rules and behind the scenes of the business too.
“Our approach has the potential to be expanded nationwide,” said founder Meg Doherty, who devised the plan in 2016 after when working with the North London YMCA. She saw firsthand how people become trapped in the benefits system. A person’s financial support is reduced when they start working, but if their wage is too little to replace the benefit payments they have lost, they are often pushed out of work and back towards welfare.
“For customers to do something good, all they need to do is to eat a meal. It’s that simple.”
The Fat Macy’s team provides up to two years’ support to people training on the programme and transitioning to independent living. Collectively, trainees have gained around 3,600 hours’ work experience so far, with £35,000 earned in housing deposits among 33 people.
Our mission is to provide a pathway for trainees to gain skills and employment and move out of hostels and into their own homes. Like every hospitality business, the last year has been a struggle but the no. of people who ask to join our programme is higher than ever. 3/5
— Fat Macy's (@fatmacys) July 29, 2021