Restaurant-supported StreetSmart celebrates 20 years helping the homeless

20/09/2017 - 07:30
StreetSmart, a charity which raises funds for the homeless through the support of UK restaurants, is launching its 2017 campaign as it celebrates its twentieth anniversary.

The charity has raised over £8.2 million over the last 20 years through restaurants adding a voluntary £1 to diners bills throughout the festive months.

Restaurants such as The River Café, Ottolenghi, MEATliquor and Barrafina will continue to support the scheme this year along with new signups such as Anzu, Ikoyi and Luca in London, El gato negro in Manchester and Issho in Leeds.

Over 500 restaurants across the UK currently support the scheme which raised £587,000 in 2016.

Ruth Rogers, co-founder of The River Café, said: “Homelessness is one of the big issues of our time. We’ve been doing StreetSmart since the beginning. It’s just kept growing and become a bit of a family tree amongst restaurateurs in London.”

The StreetSmart campaign works by participating establishments leaving a table card or other invitation to add £1 to the diners’ final bill. Every penny of raised is distributed by StreetSmart to local charities in cities across the UK.

It was set up in 1998 by two ethically-minded London business people, William Sieghart, chairman of StreetSmart and founder of Forward Publishing, and Mary-Lou Sturridge, former director of The Groucho Club and Hotelier.

Homelessness figures have continued to climb in recent years and the estimated number of rough sleepers on a single night in England is 4,134, marking an increase of 134% since 2010, according to figures from the National Audit Office (NAO).

During the same period, the number of families declaring themselves homeless increased by 48% to 59,090.

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