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13 February 2014, 06:00
Inmates at Norwich Prison are to run a new cafe for the public to help train them up for when they finish their sentence.
Café Britannia is a café/bistro contained within HMP Norwich’s Façade building, located outside the perimeter of the prison. Formerly a staff mess and barracks, the building was not operational for several years but has now been transformed.
All prisoners involved with the project are volunteers and undergo rigorous risk assessments by the HMP team before they begin work in the café.
The target is for 25 prisoners to participate in the project each year, with every one of those achieving an agreed training outcome.
The prisoners have the opportunity to undertake training in catering and hospitality skills under the supervision of experienced staff including a chef and front of house manager. Based on this work experience, five of these prisoners have secured jobs whilst still serving their sentences. Three Café Britannia prisoners have now been released; two of them with jobs to go to.
A resettlement worker will also be part of the team to help project participants gain soft skills and prepare for life outside prison by helping them set up bank accounts and find accommodation. The organisers say the cafe will quickly become financially self-sustaining and profits will be used to fund a prisoner bursary at HMP Norwich as well as being donated to Victim Support.