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North West

IoD North West join The Clink Charity for brand new dining experience

14 Feb 2019
The Clink Restaurant

Giving ex-offenders a chance; IoD and HMP Styal event will educate businesses on training former prisoners.  

As businesses struggle to fill skills gaps across a range of sectors – with more than half of companies confessing to struggles in recruitment – the Institute of Directors (IoD) North West is hosting an event within the walls of HMP Styal on Thursday 14th March 2019 – raising awareness of the benefits of investing in and recruiting former offenders. 

A panel of business leaders will speak on the benefits of recruiting from the prisoner population, and the access that businesses have to a motivated and largely untapped workforce. Speakers Sharon Amesu, and the newly appointed Manchester Chair of the IoD and an advocate for the rights of women prisoners, Catrin Aherne – General Manager at The Clink Restaurant – and Darren Burns, the National Recruitment Manager at Timpson Group, will each share their experiences on the night. 

The dinner will take place in HMP Styal’s Clink restaurant, which is run by inmates and gives them the opportunity to achieve City & Guilds NVQs in Food Service and Food Preparation alongside their prison sentence. The initiative also then supports them upon their release, giving each former offender mentoring as they seek employment within the UK hospitality industry. 

Claire Ebrey, IoD North West Regional Director, explains; “Government statistics show alarming skills shortages across the UK; the latest numbers suggest high shortages in sectors such as construction (35% of vacancies), 20% of vacancies in wholesale and retail, and 19% in hospitality – something which business leaders, people like our members, have to face each time they look to expand their team.

“The prison population is largely overlooked when it comes to skills, but endeavours like the Clink Restaurant are demonstrating how it can be done, by giving offenders a chance to train and learn new skills prior to their release. 

“The brilliant speakers at our event will help show business leaders just how the Clink’s model works and how they can do the same when expanding their organisation; we will also be talking about the largely overlooked benefits to hiring ex-offenders, including working tax credits, wage reimbursements and training funds.”

The Clink Restaurant at HMP Styal in Wilmslow, opened its doors in April 2015 and has since been awarded the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s 3 Star accolade; 30 prisoners working within the restaurant use quality, fresh and locally sourced produce to create classic dishes with a modern British twist.

The event will take place on Thursday 14th March from 5.30pm – 8.30pm and tickets are priced at £30 for members and £35 for non-members. The evening will include a 2-course meal cooked and served by 30 women prisoners from HMP Styal who participate in The Clink Restaurant’s training scheme. 

For more information or to book on to the event please email or visit

For more information, please contact

0161 521 8133

North West
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