Hospitality charity Only A Pavement Away, which helps prison leavers, veterans and those facing homelessness find employment in the sector, has selected British pub group Greene King as its first primary charity partner.
Having worked closely with the charity since its launch in 2018, not only on fundraising but also as the largest employer of Only A Pavement Away members, Greene King has now committed to working even more closely with the organisation moving forward, providing an annual corporate donation, strategic input and support for the custodial projects undertaken.
Increasing the number of corporate partners, like Greene King, is a core ambition of the charity which this month has laid out its five-year strategy to expand and scale up its programme to operate in every major city/town in the UK and place 1,000 people back into employment by June 2024.
As part of the strategy, the charity also plans to set up a centralised training academy in preparation for employment, expand its campaigns and events to enhance brand awareness, and will continue to work to gain full recognition as the industry charity for the placement of people facing or at risk of homelessness into careers in hospitality.
Nick Mackenzie, CEO of Greene King, said: “We are really proud to have supported 135 prison leavers into employment through our Releasing Potential programme since 2019, in which Only A Pavement Away has been a key partner. Not only are we able to provide a job for prison leavers, but also the opportunity to build a sustainable career, and help them to gain confidence and stability.
“And now, in becoming one of the charity’s primary partners, we’re looking forward to supporting Only A Pavement Away’s mission to provide pathways for prison leavers and people who are experiencing or facing homelessness into employment within hospitality.”
Greene King will be supporting the charity’s ‘Learning Kitchen’ project as part of the partnership, which will see the company sponsor the refurbishment of a prison kitchen at HMP Thameside, transforming it into a facility that reflects the appearance and standards of the hospitality industry, and where serving prisoners can be taught the skills and behaviours required to work in a professional kitchen.
With momentum already behind the project, Only A Pavement Away plans to extend the Learning Kitchen project from two prisons in 2022 to 15 by mid-2024.
Greg Mangham, CEO of Only A Pavement Away, said: “Greene King has been such an important ally and advocate of the work we’ve been doing, right from the start. Far from just offering financial support, the Greene King team has helped across the whole operation of the charity, coming on board as one of earliest employer partners and providing strategic input to help us grow to where we are today. We’re thrilled to have formalised this partnership and no doubt with Greene King on board, Only A Pavement Away will be able to support significantly more people facing homelessness back into employment.
“As our charity grows so do our expectations of what Only A Pavement Away can achieve. We know, with the right levels of funding, we can scale up our services to support 5,000 members into work each year, adding c.£170 million to the economy.”
Only A Pavement Away is seeking further hospitality partners interested in supporting the charity as part of its ESG commitment to help people facing homelessness, as well as prison leavers and veterans to develop life skills, become job ready and provide them with a direct route into employment.