This year’s StreetSmart kicks off this weekend and joining the likes of OXO Tower, St. John and The River Cafe who’ve supported since the beginning are the newly Michelin starred Social Eating House, Lima and Angler as well as the exciting new openings Merchant’s Tavern and Union Street CafÃƒÂ©.
Since StreetSmart launched 16 years ago, over £6.3 million has been donated by restaurant diners to help address homelessness. The campaign has grown from just a handful of Soho restaurants taking part back in 1998 to over 550 participating in 22 cities throughout the UK, each adding an optional £1 donation to bills through November and December.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“StreetSmart has become part of Christmas for us. It’s everyone’s chance to do the right thing at the right time with only the gentlest nudgeÃ¢â‚¬Â says Gordon Ramsay, whose restaurants have been amongst the campaign’s top fundraisers for the last 10 years
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It’s great to be able to give something back through the joy of cookingÃ¢â‚¬Â says the multi starred chef and StreetSmart supporter Jason Atherton
But it’s not just the’white table cloth’ brigade where StreetSmart can be a fundraising success – burger joint Meatliquor raised a whopping £14,000 last year, veggie favourite Terre ÃƒÂ Terre raises £3,000 for Brighton’s homeless each year and pubs like The Palmerston in East Dulwich and The Old Vine in Winchester help StreetSmart receive donations from a wide range of diners. All those who donate to StreetSmart will be helping their local communities as all contributions are passed on to charities operating in the area where the restaurant is located.
During 2013, StreetSmart supported 103 different projects tackling homelessness ranging from food banks and winter shelters to housing advice and employment training. This support has been crucial as charities battle with a 33%** increase in homelessness since 2010.
80,000 young people each year experience homelessness*, often ending up in hostels, squats or sleeping rough as a result of family breakdown, making it even more challenging for them to access education and employment opportunities. Deutsche Bank, who have partnered with StreetSmart since 2006, are committed to helping young people to fulfil their potential through their youth engagement programme Born to Be (www.db.com/borntobe). 48% of funds raised by the campaign last year supported preventative projects for young people.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“StreetSmart is low in bureaucracy and high on delivering where help is needed. We may not be able to solve the question of homelessness but at least by doing something we, in some way, diminish its tyranny.Ã¢â‚¬Â Stephen Fry