Pret a Manger charity opens house for homeless in London

Pret a Manger’s charity is opening a house for the homeless which will also provide training in a local branch of the coffee chain, in a bid to get more people off the streets.

The Pret Foundation, which was set up by the company’s founders in 1995, has partnered with West London Mission (WLM) to open the accommodation this week in south London.

The house will accommodate up to 13 people for six to 12 months each, with support provided by WLM on how to get a bank account, save for a deposit and develop additional skills.

 Each resident will also join Pret’s Rising Stars programme, a long-running initiative which gives career opportunities to former homeless people.

They will work in local branches of the coffee chain and pay a monthly rent relative to their wages.

Almost 80% of Rising Stars participants become full-time employees at Pret.

The foundation aims to get 20 people off the street this year, with participants eventually renting their own home.

Pret CEO Clive Schlee said: “Ever since Pret opened its first shop in London, helping the homeless has been part of our promise to our customers and the communities in which we operate.

“We set up the Pret Foundation with the singular purpose of breaking the cycle of homelessness, and to do that, we believe that people need three things: food, employment and shelter.”

The programme is the latest of Pret’s initiatives to help the homeless. Shops already give away unsold food to shelters, donating an estimated 3 million items last year.

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