Matthew Steeples salutes Pret for doing more than most to help homeless people get jobs and permanent accommodation; others and the government should follow suit
Pret a Manger has come under a lot of flack lately – due to two customers dying having an allergic reaction to their products – but now, this in my view, wrongly maligned chain has again done something truly good.
At a time when our rudderless government keep banging on about achieving the impossible – in telling a blatant lie in claiming they will end homelessness by 2027 – Pret’s charitable foundation is to invest a further £200,000 a year into a homeless hostel in Kennington, London on top of their already vast commitment to helping those living rough.
Aside from continuing to give over 3 million meals a year to homeless people across the year every year, the Pret Foundation will now also provide further jobs and training through their ever expanding ‘Rising Stars’ and ‘Shooting Stars’ programmes. Presently the firm takes on at least 40 homeless people as employees each year and over the last ten years has hired a total of 450 individuals as a result of such.
Of the scheme, Clive Schlee, chief executive of Pret, a firm with 450 outlets and group sales of around £800 million per year, remarked:
“Everyone in London can see that homelessness is becoming more of a problem. In an ideal world there would be no homelessness but we are doing something because others are not doing something about it.”
Other businesses – most especially those in the hospitality sector – should follow suit in providing food and accommodation for the homeless. Theresa May and her uncaring government, meanwhile, should be wholly ashamed of themselves for offering nothing but platitudes. They should man up and do a hell of a lot more to end a situation which is resulting in over 600 people dying on our streets each year.