Popular Manchester Restaurants have signed up to add a pound onto their bills, all of which will go to local homeless charities this Christmas.
Throughout November and December, local eateries including Tariff and Dale, Mr Cooper’s at The Midland, Salvi’s Cucina and Damson, will take part in the scheme that last year raised £12,000 for various homeless schemes around Manchester.
The scheme, run by UK wide charity StreetSmart, gives 100% of the profits from this period to places that last year included The Booth Centre, Contact Hostel, the Church Housing Trust and The Wellspring.
Siobhan Hanley, who heads the StreetSmart Manchester campaign, told MM: “The whole thing works together really well because it’s not in your face.
“At Christmas time people think more about other people and are more likely to be dining out all the time.”
Ms Hanley described it as ‘a really nice message for Manchester restaurants to send to show their support’, adding that ‘homelessness is something that affects everybody in the community’.
StreetSmart is now in its tenth year in Manchester, and has been an important means of funding for places like The Booth Centre, which is one of the cities longest running centres for the help and support of rough sleepers.
Amy Hinks, who works with the charity, said: “Some of our programmes, particularly the ones that StreetSmart have helped us to fund, really do transform the lives of homeless people.
“Projects like this can be actual lifelines for homeless people, some people just need that one opportunity that makes sense and it can transform their lives.
“We couldn’t do it without the support of StreetSmart.”
StreetSmart functions on the basis that people are able to either opt in or out of the voluntary scheme when they pay.
The £1 donation is the same for groups no matter what their size, and for this reason many have asked if they could give more.
Jim Morgan, co-owner of new Ancoats restaurant Rudy’s Pizza, believes the scheme ‘can only be a good thing’.
Maintaining a small but specialised menu, Rudy’s Pizza’s average spend is less than many other restaurants taking part in StreetSmart.
However, this has not stopped patrons from being generous with their donations.
Mr Morgan said: “It is something we are very much pleased to get involved in.
“I expect that people would think that we are the last place to be involved in something like this. We are completely new and we are still figuring things out.
“It is a cause that I think a lot of people are thinking about and I know I am, so people want to give at least that amount.”
Ms Hanley is keen to spread the word about the scheme, and hopes that other restaurants in Manchester will sign up to take part for the remainder of the Christmas period.
She said: “It’s nice to add to the whole experience of dining out, and people might choose where they dine to support this campaign, so it could drive business in that respect.”
StreetSmart runs from November 1 to December 31. Full lists of participating restaurants and charities can be found here.