Finding a job without any experience is a tough ask these days—especially if you’re also battling homelessness. That’s why one restaurant, Ebury by Fat Macy’s in Pimlico, London, has two main goals: to serve guests delicious, locally sourced Middle Eastern-inspired food, and more importantly, to employ and empower individuals who are relying on temporary accommodation.
Since it was founded in 2016, Fat Macy’s social enterprise has used the restaurant and its catering business to solve the problem of homelessness. The model that Fat Macy’s uses to tackle homelessness is the brainchild of founding director Meg Doherty and was inspired by her time working with young people in a London YMCA. There, she saw that in practice, the benefits system would trap people in temporary accommodation because their support would be cut as soon as they obtained employment.
In contrast, trainees who are hired at Ebury’s go through a 200-hour program that involves learning directly from professional chefs, working in front-of-house positions, and helping run the business. Over a year, participants have the opportunity to earn a deposit for a rented home, gain valuable work experience, and most of all boost their confidence. The Fat Macy’s team doesn’t stop once the training period is over—instead they continue to support participants for up to two years as needed.
“Our approach has the potential to be expanded nationwide,” Doherty says. “For customers to do something good, all they need to do is eat a meal. It’s that simple.”
So far, 30 trainees have gone through the 200-hour program, and 10 housing deposits have been secured for people to move into their first permanent home.
Source image: Fat Macy’s/Benoît Grogan-Avignon