"Together we can pave the way to a brighter future for those who want and deserve a second chance at life."
After reading a recent blog post about the Clink in Cardiff I thought it sounded like an incredible place to visit so I rallied my friends and we went down for a spot of lunch on Tuesday. However, we had sadly missed the lunch spot (last admittance is 2:00) so we instead decided to visit Wow, a gay bar for lunch. This served to be the prefect juxtaposition to the service and food we eventually got in the Clink on the following Friday...
When we arrived we were greeted and our coats were taken off us by a young man. Everyone was dressed in shirts and trousers looking incredibly smart and the decor and cleanliness of the establishment was impeccable. We were guided to a table and handed the menus. In Wow we were left to find our own table/menus and then after being sat down for approximately thirty seconds we were asked if we were ready to order... ermmm no. The waiter at the Clink was a timid young man who was incredibly attentive and couldn't do enough for us. He looked so incredibly sad when he accidentally dropped a knife while clearing our plates away that we all gave him a reassuring smile. Our table of four girls were in love with him by the end of the meal.
After taking our order we were able to watch our food being made in the open plan kitchen. The prisoners were all so smiley and seemed genuinely happy to be serving us. After a couple of minutes we were given a complimentary starter of chicken terrine which was presented beautifully and tasted delicious warming up our taste buds for what was to come. I decided on the pork in caramelised apple served with greens and mash and swede. It was literally one of the best meals I've ever had at a restaurant! At Wow after requesting burgers we were told they were all out of this particular meat and instead had to make a spur of the moment decision of fish and chips, we were left to wait for our food for over an hour as the oven was broke we were informed a little later.
After finishing our meal we asked for the bill and left a donation in the envelope provided on our table, the head waiter was incredibly grateful and thanked us profusely for visiting and asked us to write a review on tripadvisor. Overall, it was an excellent restaurant which I think is an fantastic idea for helping these prisoners get a second chance in life because really doesn't everyone deserve that? By working in the restaurant it gives them a purpose to their prison sentence and means when they come out they have real experience and qualifications that mean they have a higher chance of employment, and importantly a lower chance of re-offending. Rehabilitation is so important for these men with 49% of prisoners released in the UK re-offending within the first year and for those who serve sentences under 12 months this increases to 61%, therefore it is clearly an area that needs attention. There are three of these establishments in the UK and I believe there should be more!
If you're interested in also visiting the Clink in Cardiff then you can reserve a table by calling 02071476724 or email them at email@example.com. If you are interested in visiting one of the other restaurants around the UK then you can access their website here to find the one nearest to you. If I was to say where the Clink could possibly improve their service it would be through more advertising. I had never heard of it and it is literally ten minutes from my house, and when I had told people about my impending visit they also had no idea of it's existence. I believe more people would visit if only they knew about it!
Sadly you are not allowed to take pictures in the restaurant so you're just going to have to visit yourself!
What do you think about the Clink charity and their work with prisoners?