Pret a Manger to give homeless people jobs and open shelter for rough sleepers

Each resident will have their own private room 

Sarah Young
Friday 08 February 2019 09:10 GMT
Food businesses have increasingly sought to capitalise on the rise of plant-based diets
Food businesses have increasingly sought to capitalise on the rise of plant-based diets

Sandwich chain Pret A Manger is opening a house for homeless people, offering them both accommodation and paid work.

‘Pret House’ will provide 13 people in London with somewhere to live for six to 12 months before they are helped to move into a rented property.

The company has revealed its ambition is to help at least 20 homeless people get off the streets by the end of the year.

Launched in collaboration with West London Mission (WLM) – a charity that supports homeless people and marginalised members of society – the new house will provide each resident with their own private room.

As well as being given jobs in Pret stores nearby, they will also receive advice on how to get a bank account, save for a deposit and develop their wider literacy and computer skills.

Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret, revealed the home has been in the works for around five years.

“Ever since Pret opened its first shop in London, helping the homeless has been part of our promise to our customers and the communities in which we operate,” he said.

“We set up the Pret Foundation with the singular purpose of breaking the cycle of homelessness, and to do that, we believe that people need three things: food, employment and shelter.

Each resident will be given their own private room in Pret House (Pret-A-Manger)

“‘The opening of the Pret House at WLM St Luke’s is the next evolution in our efforts to help the ex-homeless live their lives independently.”

The initiative comes under the the Pret Foundation umbrella – an internationally registered charity set up by the sandwich chain’s founders in 1995 - and is part of Pret's Rising Star programme which gives homeless people job opportunities in its stores.

The residents will also be offered a job at a nearby Pret store (Pre-A-Manger)

The chain says it donates more than three million items of food donated each year, as well as helping to provide money, showers, sleeping bags, food shopping and chefs.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler MP, said the new hostel “is not just about putting a roof over their heads but also about ensuring they have the support they need to recover from life on the streets and get back on their feet”.

(L-R): Jude McKee - director of operations at WLM - Mattia - a Rising Star - and Nicki Fisher - head of the Pret Foundation (Pret-A-Manger)

She added: “This important scheme will provide vulnerable rough sleepers with the vital assistance they need to secure their own home and rebuild their lives, and I look forward to hearing about its successes over the coming months and years."

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