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12 Islington restaurants ask diners to spare £1 to help combat homelessness in borough

PUBLISHED: 12:51 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:51 07 December 2017

Islington restauranters are supporting Clerkenwell charity StreetSmart this Christmas by adding an optional �1 donation to diners' bills. Proceeds will go to Islington causes such as the Margins Project at Union Chapel. Picture: Kathy Anne Lim

Islington restauranters are supporting Clerkenwell charity StreetSmart this Christmas by adding an optional �1 donation to diners' bills. Proceeds will go to Islington causes such as the Margins Project at Union Chapel. Picture: Kathy Anne Lim

Kathy Anne Lim

In a period of outrageous excess, 12 Islington restaurants are trying to give something back to our community this Christmas.

Islington restauranters are supporting Clerkenwell charity StreetSmart this Christmas by adding an optional �1 donation to diners' bills. Proceeds will go to Islington causes such as the Margins Project at Union Chapel. Picture: Kathy Anne Lim Islington restauranters are supporting Clerkenwell charity StreetSmart this Christmas by adding an optional �1 donation to diners' bills. Proceeds will go to Islington causes such as the Margins Project at Union Chapel. Picture: Kathy Anne Lim

They have backed Clerkenwell charity StreetSmart, which fundraises for homeless and vulnerable people.

To do this, the charity partners with restaurants with the simple idea of adding a voluntary £1 to diners’ bills during the festive period.

The campaign is now in its 20th year, having raised £8.2million, and 500 restaurants across the country have signed up this year.

The 12 from Islington are Black Axe Mangal in Canonbury; Drapers Arms in Barnsbury; MEATliquor N1, Ottolenghi, Radici and RöK in Upper Street; Mildreds in Pentonville Road; Islington Townhouse near Chapel Market; Rotunda in King’s Cross; the St John’s Tavern in Archway; the Wilmington Arms in Rosebery Avenue; and Westerns Laundry in Highbury.

Nick Gibson, general manager of the Drapers Arms, said: “It’s timely, during a period of excess and overt consumption – and where all of us who are lucky are having the best of times. It’s a way to give something back.

“Being homeless is particularly stark at Christmas, which is the time for compassion, companionship, family and warmth.”

The funds raised for StreetSmart will be used to support Islington projects tackling homelessness. Boyd Collins, whose MEATliquor restaurants have raised more than £150,000 for StreetSmart in the past six years, added: “Seeing the money stay here in Islington makes what we’re doing visible for both the team and customers. We can see the direct impact the charity has on those that need support close to us.”

One example is the Margins Project at Union Chapel.

Rachel Krish, head of funding, said: “People associate Islington with wealth, when in reality it’s a tale of two cities, with extreme wealth and extreme poverty. It’s still ranking in the top 20 boroughs across the country on the national deprivation index.

“Union Chapel sits right at the heart of the borough and offers real employment with paid homeless trainees on contracts. This is a concrete project that bridges the gap of reintegration and homelessness by intensively supporting employment for people not quite ready to make the leap into full-time employment.”

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