StreetSmart appeal: Heston Blumenthal and Yotam Ottolenghi call on diners to help homeless with bill donation

·2-min read
Jackson Boxer, Heston Blumenthal  and Yotam Ottolenghi are all supporting StreetSmart in their restaurants (ES Composite)
Jackson Boxer, Heston Blumenthal and Yotam Ottolenghi are all supporting StreetSmart in their restaurants (ES Composite)

Leading London restaurants are encouraging diners to help the homeless while they eat out.

Venues including The Ned, Fergus Henderson’s St John Bread and Wine and Ottolenghi Spitalfields have signed up to the StreetSmart appeal, which sees participating restaurants add a voluntary £1 donation to diners’ bills, with every penny going to good causes.

It 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.

Chef Jackson Boxer, who runs Orasay in Notting Hill and Brunswick House in Vauxhall and has just opened a new bar on Shaftesbury Avenue, said: “Winter, as we gather in warm, comforting restaurants, should also be a time to think on how we can provide the most basic and essential human needs for every person: food, shelter, care.”

His restaurants are among 400 across the country that have signed up to this year’s campaign, from Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin-starred The Fat Duck to a Peckham pizzeria.

Chef Nicholas Balfe, who runs Salon and Levan in south London, said: “Homelessness has been something I’m more and more aware of recently and I believe the pandemic has highlighted how vulnerable so many people are. StreetSmart is an incredible charity.”

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.

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

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