A new Middlesbrough restaurant will open on Christmas Eve - staffed by ex-offenders, recovering addicts and long term unemployed in order to give them a second chance in life.
The Fork in the Road, will see highly experienced catering professionals act as mentors for trainees who would otherwise struggle to get work.
The Fork in the Road is based on Middlesbrough’s Linthorpe Road, in previously derelict premises once occupied by popular toy shop, Romer Parrish, opposite the town’s booming Baker Street and Bedford Street regeneration zone.
Two former offenders are among the restaurant’s first recruits, including a Redcar teenager whose job as a kitchen porter is his first ever employment after serving a year in prison.
The man behind the initiative Andy Preston has revealed that the restaurant will be the first on Teesside to have a “no tips” policy, with customers instead being charged a slight premium on food to allow the restaurant to pay staff a higher wage.
Customers will also be offered a £10 “sharing dish” that, rather than featuring food, is an opportunity for them to make a donation to some of Teesside’s most vulnerable people.
Any profits the restaurant makes will also be used solely for the benefit of Teesside’s most vulnerable.
The Fork in the Road is being funded by Middlesbrough-based national charity CEO Sleepout and Public Health England.