Top Islington restaurants help homeless at Christmas

DINERS can once again do their bit for charity this winter – just by asking for their bill.

The annual StreetSmart campaign will help to raise money for Islington homelessness charities by adding �1 to restaurant bills.

Eateries and gastropubs across the borough are taking part, including Ottolenghi, in Upper Street, Islington, and The Albion, in Thornhill Road, Barnsbury. Anne Cartwright, of The Manna, a day centre in Canonbury Road, Islington, said: “It’s ironic that StreetSmart funds our part-time cook, who feeds 200 people each week with a budget of little more than �100, maybe as much as some StreetSmart contributors spend on a single meal!

She added: “Our cook, Kemi, is fantastic, never rattled, and seems to produce food out of thin air!”

Islington homelessness charity CARIS, which runs a shelter in local churches, seven nights a week, from January until the end of March, will also benefit from a grant.

The appeal, which is now in its 13th year, raised an impressive �455,000 nationally in 2009 – and has been endorsed by comedian, television presenter and Twitterer Stephen Fry, who said: “As seasonal a presence on the menu as parsnips and winter greens, StreetSmart dishes always do your heart good.”

Glenn Pougnet, director of the campaign, said: “Despite the recent economic downturn, StreetSmart has seen an increase in donations, proving that UK diners are still willing to give generously this time of year, when they know their money is being put to good use locally.”